HMRC to introduce 'facilitating evasion' offence
22 January 2016
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has responded to consultations on anti-evasion measures announced at the March 2015 Budget. It confirmed that in addition to the new criminal offence, the government will introduce a penalty for offshore evasion based on the value of the asset on which tax was evaded, and a new penalty regime for those who enable evasion.
A further criminal offence is to be established that removes the need to prove intent where a large amount of tax has not been paid on offshore income and gains. HMRC has been warned by international law firm, Pinsent Masons, that they would face challenges should they decide to prosecute overseas firms that played a role in allowing the evasion of UK taxes to take place.
Such challenges include the fact that it would be very hard for the UK to force an overseas company to turn up in a UK court to face prosecution – you can’t extradite a company. A spokesperson from the law firm warned that HMRC’s attempt to extend the “arm of its law” beyond its borders may put some foreign companies off investing in the UK for fear of breaking the rules.
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