Tax Evasion: Prosecutions

Treasury written question – answered on 8th February 2019.

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Photo of John Martin McDonnell John Martin McDonnell Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many prosecutions have been initiated under sections 45 and 46 of the Financial Services Act 2017 for offences of failing to prevent tax evasion (a) in the UK and (b) abroad.

Photo of Mel Stride Mel Stride Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General

The Corporate Criminal Offences, introduced by articles 45 and 46 of the Criminal Finances Act 2017, were enacted on 30 September 2017. Neither offence is retrospective in nature.

The domestic offence (Article 45) is covered by the functions of HMRC. However, the overseas offence (Article 46) is covered by the functions of Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and/or the National Crime Agency (NCA).

HMRC currently has less than five criminal investigations into behaviours occurring since 30 September 2017 for offences under Article 45. These investigations have been commenced since November 2018 and are the first in a pipeline of cases HMRC has under development that may have Article 45 implications.

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 (CPS); for Scotland, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS); and for Northern Ireland (NI), the Public Prosecution Service for NI, (PPSNI).

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