From the 30 September 2017 companies and partnerships can face prosecution under two new offences designed to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion by another party.
The Criminal Finances Act 2017 introduces two new criminal offences applying to corporations who facilitate tax evasion in respect of either UK tax or overseas taxes.
Whilst tax evasion or assisting another party to evade tax is already a criminal offence. previously companies or partnerships could only be prosecuted if the senior officers of the corporation, the board of directors or the partners, were aware of the assistance being provided. The new law will now hold companies and partnerships criminally liable for these acts if the fail to prevent their employees or agents acting on their behalf from facilitation criminal tax evasion.
Mel Stride, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury commented;
The new offences will ensure that companies doing business in the UK take reasonable steps to prevent their staff from facilitating tax evasion.
Whilst the new laws will not affect the majority of businesses in the UK there is a significant change here for companies that do have an exposure to such risks and this represents a significant change to the responsibilities of the organisations and will certainly require a review of corporate governance procedures and risk management.