Employers could be criminally liable for employees' actions
The Criminal Finances Act came into force on 30 September 2017. The importance of this new piece of legislation for businesses will probably lie with the new corporate offences of failing to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion. The new corporate offences only apply to relevant bodies (any corporate body or partnership) therefore it does not apply to individuals.
Under the Act, businesses could be criminally liable for the actions of employees who assist tax evasion by others acting in the capacity of an associated person, for example agents, contractors and sub-contractors.
Relevant bodies should implement reasonable prevention procedures. The HMRC draft guidance that is available states: "If a relevant body can demonstrate that it has put in place a system of reasonable prevention procedures that identifies and mitigates its tax evasion facilitation risks, then prosecution is unlikely as it will be able to raise a defence."
What you need to do
The relevant guidance recommends 6 principles for applying "reasonable prevention procedures":
1. Conduct a risk assessment to identify the nature and extent of its exposure to the risk of tax evasion or money laundering facilitation.
2. Create and implement reasonable procedures and policies proportionate to the risks identified. This includes creating a culture in which activity intended to facilitate tax evasion is never acceptable.
3. Undertake due diligence of staff, third parties and clients in relation to the risk they pose to the organisation.
4. Top-level management commitment to preventing the criminal facilitation of tax evasion.
5. Ensure that policies and procedures are communicated and understood throughout the organisation. This includes providing training and can be done through internal and external communication.
6. Monitor and review your prevention policies and procedures on a regular basis and make improvements where necessary.
The first step is doing a risk assessment of the nature and extent to which your business may be exposed to the risk of tax evasion. This should include assessing your internal systems and data for any potential opportunity for facilitating tax evasion.
Potential fines for corporate facilitation are unlimited.
HMRC provides the following guidance to SME's when considering existing processes and procedures:
Having a commitment to preventing the involvement of those acting on the relevant body's behalf in the criminal facilitation of tax evasion, which might be demonstrated by issuing a prominent message from the board of directors (or the leadership team) against all forms of tax evasion
An overview of its strategy and timeframe to implement its preventative policies
Having terms in contracts (with employees and contractors) requiring them not to engage in facilitating tax evasion and to report and concerns immediately
Providing regular training for staff on financial crime detection and prevention
Having clear reporting procedures for whistle-blowing of suspected facilitation
Ensure their pay and bonus policy/structure encourages reporting and discourages pursuing profit to the point of condoning tax evasion
Monitoring and enforcing compliance with prevention procedures
Having regular reviews of the effectiveness of prevention procedures and refining them where necessary.
A few members recently notified us that they had received a"dodgy" looking email that purported to be from the PCA. We checked the email and it was not linked to our systems . Those who had received it looked like it was sent to random email addresses from the PCA, these can be gained without access to the back of the website. A check with our SEO identified that there is nothing that had been accessed.
Although the PCA regularly fights spam and virus emails Members should be vigilant and not open any email attachment they have not requested or from any unknown email address. Simply placing your mouse over any link will show the true destination and not always where they say. Any attached files should only be opened if you requested it. Not only from the PCA its all emails including banks, Google, Ebay etc etc.
These viruses are selecting emails at random and for those who are less knowing simply opening them.
This latest PDF is a simple virus spam link within a pdf, a simple mouse over the link shows it is nothing to do with the PCA
This latest email showed the following info on the header to recipients--
From: "Professional Charter Association (PCA)" email attached was from email@example.com so clearly not from the PCA Date: 3 October 2017 at 08:45:37 BST Subject:FILE
The aol.com should have immediately heightened concerns. We do all we can to have a secure site but as we have seen the scammers will keep trying, please be VIGILANT – DO NOT OPEN WHAT YOU DID NOT ASK FOR.
Next years AGM
We have started to review locations and ideas for the next AGM 2018 and have spoken to quite a few members. One option we are considering is to have the venue at a location where we can use some form of live screening to other areas or so that members around the UK and Europe can log in an listen/participate.
We fully understand peoples wishes to be involved and we cannot possibly hope to get everyone in one place wherever we hold a meeting. In light of updates of electronic meetings I hope we can find a solution for all. Updates to follow .
Making Tax Digital - MTD
HM Treasurer has published a revised timetable for the introduction of MTD.
Under the revised timetable , firms whose turnover is above the VAT threshold will be required to keep digital records for VAT purposes from April 2019. Firms whose threshold is below the threshold will not be required to submit quarterly tax reports to HMRC until 2020 at the earliest
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