HMRC have released data provided under a Freedom of Information (FOI) request in respect of its ongoing criminal investigations under the new offences under the 'Failure to prevent facilitation of UK tax evasion' legislation. It has some 31 potential investigations spanning ten different business sectors stretching across small business through to some of the UK’s largest organisations.

  • There are two offences under the rules, the first applying to the facilitation of UK tax evasion and the second applying to the facilitation of foreign tax evasion. Both were introduced by the Criminal Finances Act 2017 and came into effect on 30 September 2017.
  • A business may commit one or more of the offences when a person providing a service for or on your behalf criminally facilitates tax evasion and you did not have procedures in place to prevent it.
  • It’s possible to report on behalf of a company or partnership if it has failed to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion.

In its release, HMRC says that at 13 October 2020:

  • "HMRC currently has 13 live CCO investigations. Since 31 July 2020, three 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."

Source HMRC FOI release

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