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.
While there have been no prosecutions as yet, HMRC are currently investigating thirteen potential violations of the Corporate Criminal Offence of failing to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion. This is likely to shine a harsh spotlight on which reasonable procedures companies are failing to implement.
The reasonable procedures checklist
If you are not sure how to implement reasonable procedures, here is a short checklist:
- Assess the nature and extent of the risk of tax evasion. What do existing procedures cover and do they mitigate the potential risk?
- Assess internal procedures and staff reporting obligations to ensure they are adequate and fulfill obligations imposed by your regulator.
- Deliver training to frontline staff on how to spot potential tax evasion.
- Ensure financial teams understand tax evasion, how to spot and investigate it, and they are empowered to question frontline staff.
- Adapt IT and secure internal communication systems to support staff in identifying and managing risk.
- Check that procedures cover not just staff, but other associated persons.
- Ensure corporate governance takes account of the risks and senior managers are aware of their responsibilities.
You can download a PDF of this checklist here.
VinciWorks’ training on the Criminal Finances Act
The Criminal Finances Act requires staff to be trained on tax evasion as part of a business’ reasonable procedures to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion.
The course covers:
- The relationship between tax evasion, tax avoidance and tax mitigation
- The social and economic effects of failing to prevent tax evasion
- Understanding of what is meant by “reasonable procedures”
- The penalties for committing an offence under the Criminal Finances Act
- Red flags for spotting facilitation of tax evasion
- Practical advice and personalised guidance to prevent facilitation of tax evasion
- Interactive quizzes to review knowledge learnt
The course is available in two versions: a 45 minute version for management teams and a 15 minute version for all other staff.