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Tax Evasion: Prosecutions

Question for Treasury

UIN HL12911, tabled on 2 February 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many (1) bodies, and (2) individuals, have been prosecuted each year under the Criminal Finances Act 2017 for failure to prevent tax evasion; and what outcome was secured in each such case.

Answered on

16 February 2021

HMRC currently have thirteen live Corporate Criminal Offence (CCO) investigations with a further seventeen possible investigations under review. HMRC update these figures bi-annually on GOV.UK.

No corporate bodies have yet been prosecuted under the CCO for the failure to prevent the facilitation of UK tax evasion. This is because these investigations are extremely complex and take considerable time before they are ready to be passed to a prosecutor.

The CCO was implemented on 30 September 2017, which means HMRC are only able to consider potential investigations from that date. The offence applies solely to corporate bodies.

Individuals are prosecuted under pre-existing legislation that deals with tax evasion and the facilitation of tax evasion. Since April 2017, HMRC have prosecuted 60 facilitators of tax evasion. These cover a range of professional services and apply to different taxes and duties.

The CCO legislation was not brought in to simply increase the number of corporate prosecutions but to change long standing industry practices and reduce the opportunity for the facilitation of tax evasion to occur. There are positive signs of this happening with many organisations putting in place reasonable preventative procedures.

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