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The UK Government recently introduced the Criminal Finances Act 2017 which links a number of new offences to the existing Money Laundering regulations.
The UK Government recently introduced the Criminal Finances Act 2017 which links a number of new offences to the existing Money Laundering regulations. This new law, which came into effect from 30 September 2017, deems it a corporate offence if a company or partnership fails to prevent tax evasion within their organisation.
The Act makes a company or a partnership criminally liable for any employee or “associated person” who facilitates tax evasion, regardless of whether the management of the entity were aware of the act taking place.
An “associated person” is anyone who performs services for or on behalf of the entity and can include anyone with such links to a company - from a supplier, to an employee, to an independent contractor. There does not need to be any contractual relationship in place.
The company is then criminally liable, unless they can demonstrate that either reasonable procedures were in place to detect and prevent facilitation or that it was not reasonable to have such procedures. HMRC would expect a company to have a risk assessment in place and it must be specific to the risk of facilitating tax evasion. The assessment should be suitable, realistic and go into enough depth to capture the full extent of an entity’s risk exposure.
Although the legislation is primarily aimed at advisors, it also applies to the facilitation of UK tax evasion by any entity anywhere in the world, and to the evasion of foreign tax that was assisted by any business or person incorporated or operating in Britain.
We, in common with other advisors, will ensure that we have reasonable procedures in place to prevent anyone associated with F&L from committing tax evasion. However, it is important to make you aware of the rules, as it can extend to overseas employees if such employees would be in a position to facilitate UK tax evasion.
Anyone guilty of the offence may be subject to an unlimited fine.
If you would like more details on the above, please contact: