New offences came into place on the 30th September 2017. You, your Employees, Agents of you or people performing services for you and on behalf of your business would be deemed committing the new offence if they facilitate Tax Evasion. The fine for such an offence is unlimited and it is to be deemed a strict liability offence, which means you will have no possibility to blame others, even if they are the ones committing the primary Tax Evasion offence. You will not be able to distance yourself from your Employees who may have facilitated the Tax Evasion. Be aware, your business will still have committed an offence under the act.
So, what is Tax Evasion Facilitation?
Here we will deal solely with the UK but you should be aware that the new offence also relates to offences allowing evasion to take place abroad. In the UK, you or your Employees etc. will be deemed to have committed an offence if you are knowingly concerned in taking steps to commit fraudulent evasion. If they aid, abet, counsel or procure the commission of a UK Tax Evasion offence, if they are knowingly concerned in taking steps with the fraudulent evasion of Tax.
This legislation is now going to ensure that Employers business owners can no longer turn a blind eye to the Tax arrangements of your customers or actions of Employees.
To avoid liability, businesses must now look at putting in place prevention procedures reasonable to their business. Despite the fact this legislation came into place on the 30th September, we are not likely to see the provisional government guidelines as to what such guidance should look like. We are hopeful that this will be privileged in October 2017.
To facilitate the procedures, we would suggest currently you look at:
a) Undertaking your risk assessment and ensure that Senior Managers etc. are aware of the new legislation.
b) Take an internal look as to your bonus and profit offerings, are these compliant?
c) Communication, it is time to let your Employees know about the changes in law and make it clear that you have a business zero tolerance policy for the facilitation of Tax Evasion.
d) As with all new procedures, monitor and review them and put into place a policy which shows how concerns can be reported to management for investigation.
Salena Dawson at Dawsons Law can offer Employers advice in relation to reviewing your procedures in light of the new legislation.
Please do not hesitate to book an appointment on 01953 883535.