Facilitating tax evasion - Number of live Corporate Criminal Offences investigations
At the March 2015 Budget the government announced that it would make it a crime for corporations to fail to put in place reasonable procedures to prevent associated persons from criminally facilitating tax evasion.
The intention being that relevant bodies should be criminally liable where they fail to prevent those who act for, or on their behalf from, criminally facilitating tax evasion.
The Corporate Criminal Offences (CCO) for the failure to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion were introduced by Part 3 of the Criminal Finances Act 2017.
With potentially unlimited fines for organisations found guilty of the offences, organisations must take their responsibilities seriously and put in place reasonable procedures to stop the facilitation of tax evasion. This is not about simply increasing the number of corporate prosecutions but changing industry practice and attitudes towards risk, encouraging organisations to do more to prevent tax crime happening in the first place. HMRC does not have a numerical target for these offences but will prioritise risks and sectors that will have the most impact on changing behaviour.
The new offences came into effect on 30 September 2017 and are applicable to organisations that failed prevent the facilitation of tax evasion from that date on. HMRC already has 31 potential CCO cases underway, see below for further details. Results will be made public as and when it is appropriate to do so.
As at 13 October 2020:
- HMRC currently has 13 live CCO investigations.
- Since 31 July 2020, 3 new investigations have been opened. No charging decisions have yet been made
- A further 18 live opportunities are currently under review. To date we have reviewed and rejected an additional 33 opportunities
- These investigations and opportunities span 10 different business sectors, including
- financial services,
- oils, construction,
- labour provision and
- software development
- All of the investigations and opportunities sit across all HMRC customer groups from small business through to some of the UK’s largest organisations
- The number and spread of investigations clearly demonstrate that HMRC is actively enforcing the legislation across all tax and duty regimes and across organisations of all shapes and sizes.
COVID-19 has impacted all aspects of society in many different ways, and HMRC and its development of CCO investigations and opportunities is no exception. However, HMRC continues to progress CCO investigations and opportunities wherever it is safe for HMRC and its customers to do so.