Clause 77 - Fraudulent evasion

Finance (No.2) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:15 pm on 22nd April 2021.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Gary Streeter Gary Streeter Conservative, South West Devon

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Clauses 78 to 80 stand part.

That schedule 14 be the Fourteenth schedule to the Bill.

Clause 81 stand part.

Photo of Kemi Badenoch Kemi Badenoch The Exchequer Secretary, Minister for Equalities

These clauses and the schedule set out a number of criminal offences in respect of fraudulent activities connected with the plastic packaging tax and the penalties and proceedings associated with these. It is essential that any tax is applied fairly and collected from all those liable to pay it. These clauses make provisions for necessary sanctions for non-compliance with the requirements for PPT, in a manner consistent with those applied in other taxes.

Clause 77 creates a criminal offence for knowingly being involved in the fraudulent evasion of PPT, including through fraudulent claiming of tax credits or repayments, and sets out the maximum penalties for doing so. Clause 78 creates a criminal offence for supplying false information and documents, with an intention to deceive, and sets out the maximum penalties for doing so. Clause 79 creates a criminal offence for conduct involving evasion or misstatements in respect of obligations under, and liability for, PPT. The specifics of those offences need not be known, and maximum penalties are set out.

Clause 80 and schedule 14 make provision to collect penalties for specified breaches of the requirements of PPT, such as those on record keeping obligations and requirements to keep a registration up to date. Clause 81 provides that the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 applies in relation to PPT offences, in the same way that it applies to offences under the Customs and Excise Acts.

These measures are necessary both as a deterrent against avoidance and evasion of the payment of PPT, and to ensure that proportionate action can be taken where offences are committed. This is the case as elsewhere in the tax system. I therefore move that these clauses and the schedule stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Abena Oppong-Asare Abena Oppong-Asare Shadow Exchequer Secretary (Treasury)

Clauses 77 to 81 and schedule 14 outline offences and penalties attached to the PPT, including new criminal offences of being involved in the fraudulent evasion of the PPT or supplying false information with an intention to deceive, as the Minister mentioned. We have already discussed tax evasion at considerable length during the various stages of the Bill, so I shall simply say that we support these measures and hope to see them robustly enforced.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 77 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 78 to 80 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule 14 agreed to.

Clause 81 ordered to stand part of the Bill.