It is now a criminal offence for any business which fails to prevent the criminal facilitation of tax evasion by associated persons. An associated person can be an individual, corporate entity or an employee of a corporate associated persons, carrying out services for or on behalf of a business.
The Criminal Finances Act 2017 introduced 2 new corporate facilitation offences:
- The UK Offence which will apply to businesses, wherever incorporated or located in the world, if they are involved in the criminal facilitation of UK tax evasion. There is no requirement for the tax evader, the associated person or the firm to be in the UK when the evasion or facilitation occurred. The legislation requires only that the UK tax has been criminally evaded.
- The Foreign Offence which will apply to the criminal facilitation of foreign tax evasion by an associated person of any firm that is incorporated in the UK, carries on business (or part of its business) in the UK or any firm wherever located, if any aspect of the foreign tax evasion facilitation took place in the UK both the evasion and facilitation must be criminal in both the UK (if committed in the UK) and the foreign jurisdiction.
These offences do not require the tax evader to have been prosecuted for evasion or for the facilitator to have been prosecuted for facilitation.
Businesses can face unlimited fines and confiscation of assets should they be convicted.
If you/ your business has been requested to attend an interview or have been accused or charged with these offences, please contact ABV Solicitors immediately for professional advice and assistance.
At ABV Solicitors, we can also provide guidance to businesses to safeguard their interests and put in place reasonable prevention procedures to avoid falling foul of this new legislation.