New Corporate Offence – Facilitation of tax evasion

The Criminal Finances Act 2017 introduces the new corporate offence of failure to prevent facilitation of tax evasion. The new law takes effect on 30 September 2017.

The legislation provides that relevant bodies (companies, partnerships) may be criminally liable where they fail to prevent an associated person (employees, agents, service providers, acting in their given capacity) from facilitating tax evasion. The new law does not absolve the crime of the associated person. Rather, it creates a new corporate offence where the company or partnership itself fails to prevent the facilitation. Therefore in addition to the responsibility of your employee, agent or service provider for the offence of tax evasion, if your business cannot prove that it has safeguarded against tax evasion in the first instance by having reasonable prevention procedures in place, it will not be able to defend itself against sanctions which include unlimited fines, with consequent reputational damage and potential regulatory implications.

Mazars can help your business to design suitable prevention procedures to safeguard against facilitation of tax evasion by persons associated with your business, and so help you protect your business from liability under the new offence.

How can we help?

We will:

  • Review your business environment and your current risk assessments, and recommend how they can be improved in order to safeguard against the facilitation of tax evasion;
  • Help you tailor your policies and procedures so as to suit the nature and scale of your business and to provide a record of your decisions and processes;
  • Help communicate the implications of the legislation to the key members of your team. We can also assist you in creating formal statements to demonstrate the commitment from your senior management team;
  • Help design and implement tailor made preventative procedural measures to ensure your business has the tools in place to safeguard itself against risks;
  • Develop an effective training program tailored to your company’s needs. This can be by way of online training courses, seminars or interactive conferences for your staff. We can also assist in the production of communications of your company’s policy; and
  • Conduct an internal review of your processes, to help ensure they are adequate. The review would include recommendations of how the processes could be improved.

For more information about how we can assist you, please contact us.