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Jan 17, 2017

UK Introduces New Penalties For Tax Evasion "Enablers"

By Jason Gorringe

Original published on 03 January 2017 HERE.

"Enablers" of offshore tax evasion in the UK face tough new sanctions that came into force on January 1, 2017.

As part of new powers announced in the 2015 Budget, individuals or corporates who deliberately help others to evade paying tax could be fined up to 100 percent of the tax they helped evade or GBP3,000 (USD3,686), whichever is highest. HM Revenue and Customs will also be able to publicly name the enabler.

"The raft of measures we have introduced to tackle avoidance and evasion will create a level playing field for the vast majority of people and businesses who play fair and pay what is due," said Financial Secretary to the Treasury Jane Ellison.

This year, the Government will also introduce a new corporate criminal offense of failing to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion. In addition, companies will be held liable if an individual acting on its behalf as an employee or contractor facilitates tax evasion.

Meanwhile, taxpayers who do not correct past evaded taxes by September 30, 2018, face new penalties under new legislation.

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.

The Treasury said that since 2010 HMRC has secured over GBP130bn in additional compliance revenues as a result of actions to tackle tax evasion, tax avoidance, and non-compliance.

It has also secured more than GBP2.5bn from offshore tax evaders.