Amendment to the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill
On 1 May, Foreign Office minister Alan Duncan announced that the government would not oppose a Labour amendment to the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill currently going through parliament that will introduce public ownership registers in Britain’s overseas territories.
The 14 overseas territories, including the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands, will be forced to introduce the public registers by 2020 or have them imposed by the UK government. The amendment will not apply to the Crown Dependencies of Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man as Parliament cannot legislate for them, but Conservative MP Andrew Mitchell who introduced the amendment along with Labour MP Margaret Hodge hoped the crown dependencies would also embrace the registers.
Are your staff aware of the reasonable procedures under the Criminal Finances Act?
The Criminal Finances Act, which came into force in September 2017, introduced the requirement for businesses to have reasonable procedures to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion. If you do not feel that your organisation complies with the Criminal Finances Act, it is important to start a thorough risk assessment of all areas of your business operations. Organisations must also draw up an implementation plan that includes training on the Criminal Finances Act.
Click on a tax haven to learn more about their risks
The recent huge leak of financial documents revealing how the ultra-rich are secretly investing large amounts of cash in tax havens is the biggest such leak since the Panama Papers last year.
Today, Section 11 of the Criminal Finances Act 2017 comes into force. It amends the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) and affects the regulated sector. The new data sharing regime enables regulated persons to request and share information with their regulated peers, free in most respects from contravening data protection regulations. Any disclosure “made in good faith” that does not breach any duties of confidence or “any other restriction on the disclosure of information.”
The purpose is to encourage the sharing of information from different entities in the regulated sector and better enable the collation of multiple reports of potential money laundering into a single Suspicious Activity Report.
Hundreds of thousands of workers in both regulated and nonregulated sector at risk of facilitating tax evasion
With the Criminal Finances Act now in full force, VinciWorks has been helping businesses prepare with their new course, Tax Evasion: Failure to Prevent. The new law doesn’t just affect the regulated sector; any business that doesn’t have reasonable procedures in place to prevent facilitation of tax evasion could find themselves prosecuted.
So just how prepared are we for the Criminal Finances Act? VinciWorks surveyed over 250 UK companies with a combined workforce of around 430,000 people to find out just how much tax evasion risk companies are exposing themselves to, and if they have started to take action to mitigate those risks.
What you need to do now to prevent facilitation of tax evasion
From today, 30th September 2017, the new Criminal Finances Act is in full legal force. The race is now on for all companies to ensure they have duly considered what reasonable procedures they have in place to prevent corporate facilitation of tax evasion.
If you haven’t done anything yet, don’t worry. It’s not too late, but it’s vital to start working now to ensure your business has a legal defence should the worst happen. Just like the age old saying that your first payment of every month should be to the insurance company, the first task on Monday’s agenda should be to figure out what your company needs to do to prevent tax evasion.
Read more: VinciWorks survey reveals staff at 1 in 4 companies unaware of financial crime policies
On 30th September 2017, the Criminal Finances Act comes into force, as does the requirement for businesses to have reasonable procedures to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion. The law is broad and the net is wide; a business can be prosecuted if a contractor puts a client in touch with a dodgy accountant or the entire modus operandi of the business is to stash away taxable cash.
VinciWorks conducted a survey of 250 UK businesses to find out just how much tax evasion risk companies are exposing themselves to. A quarter of companies still do not have any policies in place to prevent financial crime and one in ten companies in the legal and financial services sector haven’t put in place a whistleblowing policy.
Are your staff sufficiently prepared for the Criminal Finances Act? Ensuring everyone is familiar with your organisations’ procedures to prevent facilitation of tax evasion will go a long way to protect your company from prosecution. We have therefore created a tax evasion code of conduct policy template based on the Criminal Finances Act that can easily be edited and made available to all staff, clients and stakeholders.
VinciWorks has just released a new version of its tax evasion course specifically geared to the corporate sector. While the first version of Tax Evasion: Failure to Prevent is tailored for businesses in the regulated sector, the new version has been modified to better accommodate scenarios that often face companies in non-regulated industries.
More content relevant to diverse industries
VinciWorks corporate users are based in industries as diverse as hospitality, retail and manufacturing. The corporate version of the course provides content that is more directly relevant to the kinds of issues people face in non-regulated sector industries.
Chose from six corporate scenarios
There are now six specifically corporate scenarios to choose from, with up to three included in the course. Scenarios, like everything else in the course, is fully customisable. You can upload your own scenarios or VinciWorks can help you design learning scenarios that are relevant to your company and industry.
The Criminal Finances Act, passed in April 2017, creates a new corporate criminal offence for failing to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion. Under the new law, if an employee or a contractor helps someone evade their taxes, that business can be prosecuted for failing to prevent it from happening.
Implementing reasonable procedures to prevent tax evasion is a key defence against prosecution, but it requires a thorough risk assessment, a top-down commitment and a roll out of staff training. Procedures should be proportional to the risks faced, so a law or accounting firm who gives tax advice to their clients will come out as having a much higher risk.