Tax evasion, and the deliberate and dishonest facilitation of the commission of tax evasion by another person, are criminal offences. In response to the Panama Papers leak in April 2016, the Government created a law to apply to organisations where they fail to prevent their representatives from facilitating tax evasion.
In September 2017, the Criminal Finances Act 2017 (CFA) came into force, creating two new criminal offences for organisations including the University of failing to prevent the facilitation of (1) UK and (2) foreign tax evasion offences by an associated person.
An “associated person” includes anyone working on behalf of the University (such as an employee or agent), including contractors, consultants and Joint Venture partners. Overseas workers, agents and activities are a particular risk.
Prior to these new offences being introduced, evidence that the most senior staff of an organisation were aware of and involved in the illegal activity was required to attribute criminal liability to an organisation. These new offences aim to ensure organisations are held to account for the actions of their agents and employees.
Please note there is no de minimis limit for tax fraud.
If you have any concerns about the application of the CFA, please contact the Tax Team or Financial Assurance team .