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New penalties for enablers of offshore tax evasion 04/01/2017 New sanctions are now in force to deter individuals or corporates who take deliberate action to help others evade paying tax.

New penalties for enablers of offshore tax evasion

New sanctions are now in force to deter individuals or corporates who take deliberate action to help others evade paying tax. Those found guilty of the offence now face fines of up to 100% of the tax they helped evade or £3,000, whichever is highest. On top of this the taxman will also be able to publicly name the enabler.

While tax evasion has always been illegal, this law will mean HMRC can, for the first time, charge civil penalties on the facilitators of the tax evasion who provide planning, advice or other professional services or physically move funds offshore.

The UK is one of the first countries in the world to introduce this power, which was originally announced at Budget 2015 and legislated for in the Finance Bill 2016.

This year will also see the Government introduce a new corporate criminal offence of failing to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion. Under the new rule currently being legislated for, companies will be held liable if an individual acting on its behalf as an employee or contractor facilitates tax evasion. Previously there needed to be proof that the board of directors were aware and involved in facilitating the evasion.

This is alongside introducing a new requirement to correct past tax evasion, which will see anyone who has failed to correct past evaded taxes by 30th September 2018 hit with tough new penalties. The Government is also consulting on a new requirement for businesses and individuals who create complex offshore financial arrangements that bear the hallmarks of enabling tax evasion to notify them to HMRC.

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