Fieldfisher's highly regarded team of corporate crime specialists have developed a pragmatic and commercial solution to tackle failure to prevent tax evasion. Our solution encompasses each of the Criminal Finances Act's guiding principles along with practical, actionable recommendations to minimize you risk of prosecution and fines.
The introduction of the Criminal Finances Act creates two new strict liability offences that attribute criminal liability to businesses when those associated with them facilitate criminal tax evasion:
- The first applies to businesses based anywhere in the world in relation to the facilitation of tax evasion in the UK.
- The second applies to businesses with a UK connection in relation to the facilitation of tax evasion abroad (where the conduct is criminal tax evasion both in the UK and the other jurisdiction).
The definition of associated persons is wide, being employees, agents, and all persons performing services for or on behalf of the business.
Organisations will face prosecution in relation to the facilitation of tax evasion by associated persons even if they do not know about it or derive any benefit.
The penalty could be criminal prosecution, leading to an unlimited fine.
The Act provides that it will be a defence for a business to show that it had "reasonable prevention procedures" in place.
Fieldfisher has developed 'Integrity', an approach which addresses all of the 6 guiding principles which it is expected that a business consider as part of its prevention procedures, namely:
- Risk assessment
- Proportionality of risk based prevention procedures
- Top level commitment
- Due diligence
- Communication (including training)
- Monitoring and review
At the outset, we will brief you on the provisions of the Act and obtain relevant information from you about your business. We work with you to identify specific risk areas and the existing controls and procedures you have in place and ensure they are developed to be robust enough to avail your business of the reasonable procedures defence.