This Policy applies to all staff and anyone working on behalf of the University, including staff, students, directors, officers, agency workers, seconded workers, volunteers, interns, agents, contractors, external consultants, third-party representatives and business partners, sponsors or any other person associated with the University wherever located.
The policy shall be published publicly via the University website.
This Policy has been adopted by Council and applies throughout the University, apart from Oxford University Press which has its own complementary Policy and procedures. This Policy also applies in full to majority and wholly owned University subsidiary companies unless separate policies have been formally approved and adopted by the Boards of those companies and endorsed by Council’s General Purposes Committee.
Tax evasion - a deliberate effort not to pay tax, and the deliberate and dishonest facilitation of the commission of tax evasion by another person. These are established criminal offences.
Corporate criminal offence - in September 2017, the Criminal Finances Act 2017 (CFA) came into force, creating two new criminal offences for companies and other bodies corporate (including the University) of failing to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion in the (1) the UK or (2) overseas by an associated person. Failure to prevent our employees, workers, agents or service providers facilitating tax evasion could lead to criminal sanctions including an unlimited fine as well as exclusion from tendering for public contracts and reputational damage.
Tax evasion in the UK - deliberately cheating HMRC out of tax due.
Foreign tax evasion offences - evading tax in a foreign country if that conduct is an offence in that country and would be a criminal offence if committed in the UK.
Facilitation of tax evasion - another person knowingly assists in the evasion of tax.
Examples of tax evasion include, but are not limited to:
- Deliberately misdescribing self-employment status (i.e. requesting to be treated as a consultant rather than an employee) to evade employment taxes.
- Defining another organisation as a collaborator rather than a supplier in order to evade VAT.
- Dishonestly stating that goods qualify for medical VAT relief when they will not be used on relevant activities.
- Evading tax on benefits by deliberately failing to make appropriate declarations on an expenses claim form.
- Falsifying an invoice amount to avoid VAT.
- Deliberately or dishonestly failing to establish appropriate arrangements for overseas workers to meet local tax and social security requirements.
Every member of staff and associated person who acts on behalf of the University is responsible for ensuring that they read, understand and comply at all times with this Policy and all relevant policies and processes, and guard against tax evasion.
The Registrar is responsible for ensuring that this Policy is implemented and maintained, that appropriate explanatory guidance is provided and that any suspected instances of tax evasion and/or facilitation of tax evasion are investigated appropriately.
Heads of Division, Heads of Department (including Faculty Board Chairs), and Heads of University Services (UAS and GLAM) are responsible for ensuring that staff within their divisions, departments or sections (as appropriate), affected students, and other associated persons are made aware of this Policy and associated explanatory guidance.
The Boards of Directors of majority and wholly owned subsidiary companies of the University are responsible for ensuring that this Policy, or an alternate Policy that is approved by Council’s General Purposes Committee, is implemented and maintained within those companies, and that staff and other associated persons are made aware of the Policy and associated explanatory guidance.
3.5 Third parties
The University can be prosecuted for failing to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion by an associated person. These include:
- an employee, acting in the course of their work; or
- an agent, acting in their capacity as an agent; or
- any person who performs services for or on behalf of a relevant body in their capacity of performing a service.
This definition includes contractors, consultants and Joint Venture partners.
The University expects any third party acting for or providing services to the University to demonstrate commitment to the Criminal Finances Act, and to take appropriate measures and action should it discover any tax evasion. Where appropriate, the University will include contractual obligations in respect of adherence to this Policy in its agreements with third parties.