Failure to prevent tax evasion: how will the new law affect recruitment businesses?

  • The new corporate offence is a Bribery Act style “failure to prevent” offence, with an unlimited fine and criminal record for corporations if convicted.
  • Reasonable procedures to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion must be in place in order to establish a defence.
  • All corporations irrespective of sector and size should take action now before the offence comes into force, on 30 September 2017.
  • The staffing supply chain is under scrutiny by authorities in relation to things like offshore payment schemes, and some aggressive onshore schemes (such as the Anderson scheme reported on this month) and some aspects of false self-employment.
  • Any recruitment/staffing business looking to sell will, as part the due diligence process, need to demonstrate that they have carried out a risk assessment and provided training to their staff about the offence.

This new offence follows in the wake of the Panama Papers and other high-profile tax scandals. Tax evasion and avoidance is

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