First Insight into HMRC’s use of Corporate Criminal Offences Powers

28 February 2020
Author: JHA

Change your attitudes towards preventing tax evasion or suffer the consequences. That was the very strong message intended by the government when new Corporate Criminal Offences (CCO) Powers for HMRC were announced in the March 2015 Budget. As such, since 30th September 2017, it has been a crime for corporations to fail to put in place reasonable procedures to prevent associated persons (those acting for or on their behalf) from criminally facilitating tax evasion. With unlimited fines and the reputational damage entailed from a finding of guilt, this was a significant new power.

Nearly 2½ years later, HMRC have announced that it has 9 live CCO investigations with a further 21 “opportunities” under review across 10 different business sectors, including financial services, oils, construction, labour provision and software development. It has further confirmed that these sit across all HMRC customer groups from small business through to some of the UK’s largest organisations.

Going forward, HMRC intends to update this information biannually.

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