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CIoT: Clarity needed on corporate tax evasion law

THE CIOT has called on the government to confirm whether it still intends to go ahead with plans to introduce a new corporate criminal offence of failure to prevent the facilitation of evasion.

The appeal comes justice minister Andrew Selous said proposals to create a new offence of ‘failure to prevent economic crime’ would not be taken forward, adding there is “little evidence of corporate economic wrongdoing going unpunished”.

Both the offence of ‘failure to prevent economic crime’ and the proposed corporate criminal evasion offence consider the difficulties of holding corporations to account for the actions of individuals working in or for the organisation.

The institute has responded to HMRC’s consultation on proposals to find an appropriate means of ensuring corporations can be held accountable under the criminal law for failing to prevent their agents from criminally facilitating tax evasion.

Chairman of the CIoT’s management of taxes sub-committee Jon Preshaw said: “The CIoT supports targeted measures to stamp out tax evasion and believes that tax professionals play an important part in assisting people to comply with their tax obligations.

“In our view, the government and HMRC really need to make it clear what the public policy rationale is for the corporate evasion criminal offence in light of the recent ministerial statement. We have been saying that there is enough law in this area already and the ministerial statement seems to support that view.”

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