New Legislation to Counter Tax Evasion Reaches Parliament

The distaste with which the Government regards tax evasion is clear, with HM Revenue and Customs taking an increasingly tough approach both to tax evasion and (with considerable success) when mounting legal challenges to tax avoidance schemes, especially those which manufacture artificial tax losses.

It should also be borne in mind that the benefits of tax evasion are regarded as the proceeds of crime, and applications can be made to seize assets which come into the evader's possession as a result of the criminal activity.

The Government's latest weapon is the Criminal Finances Bill, which was introduced into the House of Commons on 13 October and which, when enacted, will introduce a corporate offence of 'failure to prevent tax evasion' onto the statute books.

The legislation will significantly 'up the ante' for those whose companies are engaged in tax evasion, and will have a particular impact on those in industries which finance or facilitate the transfers of funds.