Failing to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion: note on Government's guidance

The Criminal Finances Act 2017 introduced two new offences (the first relating to the UK and the other to a foreign jurisdiction), each committed where a relevant body (those most affected by the new offence are likely to be in the financial services, legal and accounting sectors) fails to prevent an associated person criminally facilitating the evasion of a tax. Where the relevant body has put in place reasonable prevention procedures to prevent the criminal facilitation of tax evasion by an associated person (or where it is unreasonable to expect such procedures) the relevant body shall have a defence.

In late 2017, HMRC published guidance explaining the policy behind the new offences. The guidance offers suggestions as to the types of processes and procedures that can be implemented to prevent associated persons from criminally facilitating tax evasion. Such prevention procedures are, according to the guidance, to be informed by six non-prescriptive principles that advisers should take into consideration when determining how best to formulate prevention procedures on behalf of relevant bodies. This note (found here) has been prepared to assist advisers to understand each of the principles identified in the guidance.