To date no prosecutions have been either brought to court or completed under the ‘failure to prevent the facilitation of UK and foreign tax evasion’ clause of the Criminal Finances Act 2017.
The new offences will be committed where a relevant body fails to prevent an associated person criminally facilitating the evasion of a tax, and this will be the case whether the tax evaded is owed in the UK or in a foreign country.
The failure to prevent the facilitation of a UK tax offence by a corporate body or partnership will be investigated by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC). The failure to prevent the facilitation of a foreign tax offence by a corporate body or partnership will be investigated by the Serious Fraud Office or the National Crime Agency (NCA).
Neither HMRC nor the NCA are prosecuting authorities. All prosecutions leading from their investigations have to be authorised by the relevant independent prosecuting authority, which for England and Wales would be the Crown Prosecution Service; for Scotland, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service; and for Northern Ireland, the Public Prosecution Service for NI.
The offences are not retrospective and therefore only apply to acts of criminal facilitation undertaken from 30 September 2017.