You may have seen that the Criminal Finances Bill received Royal Assent in the UK at the end of April. One particular measure contained within the Bill was the new corporate criminal offence of failing to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion. Based on the UK Bribery Act 2010 section 7 offence, it will hold a corporate criminally liable by way of strict liability, for the actions of its associated persons (which includes employees, subcontractors, agents and others acting for or on behalf of the corporate) who criminally facilitate tax evasion. This is not just for UK entities, it has extra-territoriality. For any entities incorporated in the UK it covers the facilitation of tax evasion anywhere in the world, and for those based outside the UK it will cover the facilitation of UK tax evasion.
In similar terms to the Bribery Act 2010, there is a statutory defence of having reasonable preventative measures in place. Our Tax Disputes practice have been working with clients to ensure they are compliant for day one – likely to be 1 September 2017. Please see the attached flyer which sets out the offence in more detail and gives our view on what you need to do as a minimum to protect yourself before 1 September 2017.