UK Criminal Finance Bill-Ramifications for Companies and Compliance

Reporter: Neil Hodge

Publication: Compliance Week


Deadline: Jun 7, 2017 11:00 am

I am writing an article for an upcoming issue of Compliance Week on the UK Criminal Finances Bill which will come into effect from September. A noticeable aspect of the legislation is that corporations can face the risk of an unlimited fine and a criminal conviction if any employee facilitates tax evasion. Many of the provisions of the Criminal Finance Act have extra-territorial reach, and it is clear that the Act is one powerful tool for law enforcement agencies and regulators as anyone in the world facilitating tax avoidance for a UK company could be subject to UK criminal proceedings. Furthermore, unless businesses ensure they have reasonable procedures in place by 31 August 2017, they will risk committing a strict liability offence, and they could face an unlimited fine if a person acting on their behalf commits a predicate offence of aiding or abetting someone to evade tax criminally. I am looking for written comment from corporate lawyers, academics, and others on: – what do companies/boards need to do to comply with the legislation? What are the penalties for non-compliance? – what steps do companies need to take now to prepare for the legislation coming into force? – how do companies monitor for incidences of tax evasion in their own company and of contractors (accountants/law firms) facilitating tax evasion on their behalf? – what other legal risks are associated with the legislation?

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