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Corporate criminal offence investigations: 28 cases underway

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Published: 05 Jul 2022 Update History

Companies or partnerships can be found guilty of a criminal charge, where someone associated with that business has facilitated tax evasion, and where they have not done enough to prevent this from occurring.

In its latest update, HMRC has confirmed that as of 13 May 2022, it has 28 potential corporate criminal offence (CCO) cases underway, seven of which are live (with no charging decisions yet made) and the remaining 21 are under review.

HMRC has also reviewed and rejected 69 opportunities. While it has been satisfied with explanations provided, the associated investigations have in some cases uncovered other tax and regulatory offences that are being pursued.

Rules were introduced through Part 3 of the Criminal Finances Act 2017 to prevent relevant bodies (companies and partnerships) from facilitating tax evasion, known as a CCO.

Relevant bodies may be established under the law of any territory where a UK tax offence has been committed.

Where there has been a foreign tax offence, the relevant body must have one of three forms of connection to the UK for a CCO to have been committed. These are:

  • incorporated under UK law;
  • carrying on a business or part of a business in the UK (eg, a company incorporated in an overseas jurisdiction but operating from an office in the UK); or
  • whose associated person is located within the UK at the time of the criminal act that facilitates the evasion of the overseas tax (eg, whose employee helps another person to commit a foreign tax evasion offence while in the UK).

ICAEW reminds relevant bodies to have sufficient procedures in place to prevent the criminal facilitation of tax evasion.

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