You have asked for my opinion on Part 3 of the Criminal Finances Bill.
This part of the Bill seeks to tackle the promotion of tax evasion by the employees of companies and partnerships. The proposed sanction is a fine on the company responsible for permitting its employee, agent or representative to promote tax evasion.
Whilst the primary focus of the legislation is on UK tax evasion overseas tax evasion linked to a UK activity is also covered.
The nature of tax evasion is widely defined and is not linked solely to corporation tax. Other taxes are covered, as is National Insurance.
The drafting of the relevant sections of proposed law is similar in style to the UK Bribery Act 2010.
The Bill creates what is, in effect, a strict liability offence: evidence of intention is not required for conviction under the terms of this Bill; all that is required is evidence that tax evasion has taken place. Many in the tax profession dislike such provisions. I do not share their concerns: attempts to tackle tax evasion have for too long been undermined by the difficulty of proving intent when evidence of evasion having taken place is readily available.
It is a fairly fundamental point that you need to intend to be naughty to be found to have been naughty,no?
But Curajus, you know…..