Government outlines new offences in evasion clampdown

TAX EVADERS and professionals who aid and abet them will face a raft of new sanctions including two new criminal offences and higher penalties, the Treasury has confirmed.

The new regime, which targets those who hold offshore accounts, introduces the controversial strict liability offence, meaning it’s no longer possible to plead ignorance in an attempt to avoid criminal prosecution.

It will also be a criminal offence for corporates to fail to prevent tax evasion or the facilitation of tax evasion on their watch.

An increase in the financial penalties for evasion will link the penalty to the value of the asset kept in an offshore bank account for the first time.

Civil penalties for those who enable evasion will see them face the same penalty as the tax evader.

Announcing the move, chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said: “We’re making it a crime if companies fail to put in place measures to stop economic crime happening in their organisations. We’re also making sure that the penalties on those that facilitate evasion are large enough to punish and deter.

“Tax evasion is a crime like any other. If people help a burglar, they are accomplices and criminals too. Now it will be the same for those that help tax evaders.”

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