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Guidance on new criminal facilitation of tax evasion offences

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HMRC has published the final version of its guidance for the new corporate offences of failure to prevent criminal facilitation of tax evasion, which come into effect on 30 September 2017. The guidance explains the policy behind the new offences and is intended to help relevant bodies understand the types of ‘reasonable procedures’ they can put in place to prevent those acting in the capacity of an associated person from criminally facilitating tax evasion.

There are two separate offences: a domestic offence in relation to UK taxes; and another that relates to foreign taxes. One change from the October 2016 draft version of the guidance now specifies that the domestic offence applies to all categories of taxation in the UK, including NICs, but does not apply to Scottish devolved taxes. The foreign offence applies to all taxes, provided that the overseas jurisdiction has an equivalent offence covering the associated person’s criminal act.

The Facilitation of Tax Evasion Offences (Guidance About Prevention) Regulations, SI 2017/876, brings the guidance into operation from 30 September 2017. The government is required by the Criminal Finances Act 2017 to publish guidance enabling bodies to take reasonable steps to defend themselves against the new offences.

Jason Collins, tax partner at Pinsent Masons, commented: ‘All businesses should take action to ensure that they are aware of, and have control over, how their employees, agents and service providers are operating to reduce their risk of exposure to the new offences.’


The Law Society has also published a practice note providing guidance to solicitors on the new offences (see

Issue: 1368
Categories: News