Tax evasion and the Criminal Finances Act
The Criminal Finances Act provides law enforcement agencies with greater powers to recover the proceeds of crime, tackle money laundering, tax evasion and corruption, and terrorist financing. The Act, which came into force on 30 September 2017, introduced two new criminal offences for corporations: one applying to the evasion of UK taxes and one applying to the evasion of foreign taxes.
These offences relate to the evasion of UK and foreign taxes and hold corporations and partnerships criminally liable when they fail to prevent their employees, agents, or others who provide services on their behalf from criminally facilitating tax evasion.
Where UK tax evasion has been found to take place, the offence can be tried by the courts of the United Kingdom regardless of whether the company who performs the criminal act of facilitation has a business presence in the UK or overseas.
HMRC is responsible for investigating offences in relation to UK tax whilst the Serious Fraud Office is responsible for investigating offences in relation to foreign taxes.