Preventing the facilitation of tax evasion
30 SEPTEMBER 2017
1. POLICY STATEMENT
1.1 It is our policy to conduct all of our business in an honest, professional and ethical manner. We take a zero-tolerance approach to tax evasion or the facilitation of tax evasion.
1.2 The Criminal Finances Act 2017 (CFA) introduced two new corporate criminal offences of failing to prevent facilitation of tax evasion, both in the UK and overseas. The new offences do not extend the scope of tax evasion, but are designed to change who can be held to account for facilitating evasion making it easier to take action against the company concerned.
1.3 The aim of the legislation is to require companies to put in place reasonable “prevention procedures” to prevent its employees, agents or other persons providing services for or on its behalf from deliberately and dishonestly facilitating tax evasion, and this will be the case whether the tax evaded is owed in the UK or in a foreign country. A company is held criminally liable, and could face prosecution and an unlimited fine, unless it can demonstrate it had reasonable “prevention procedures" in place.
1.4 We have implemented this policy to explain to employees and others who act on our behalf what our expectations are.
2. FAILURE TO PREVENT THE FACILITATION OF TAX EVASION
2.1 A company will be guilty of a failure to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion if:
(a) A person commits a tax evasion facilitation offence; and
(b) That person does so when acting in the capacity of a person associated with the company.
2.2 A person acts in the capacity of a person associated with the company if they are:
(a) An employee, acting in the course of their work;
(b) An agent, acting in their capacity as an agent; or
(c) Any person who performs services for or on behalf of a company in their capacity of performing a service.
2.3 A tax evasion facilitation offence for the purposes of this policy means an offence under the law of any part of the UK consisting of:
(a) Being knowingly concerned in, or in taking steps with a view to, the fraudulent evasion of a tax by another person;
(b) Aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring the commission of a tax evasion offence; or
(c) Being involved in the commission of an offence consisting of being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of a tax.
2.4 A tax evasion offence is defined as an offence of cheating the public revenue or any offence consisting of being knowingly concerned in or taking steps with a view to the fraudulent evasion of tax (which is defined widely to include all taxes and national insurance contributions). The language encompasses all statutory offences that involve deliberately and dishonestly cheating the public revenue, regardless of the category of tax which that offence applies to.
2.5 A tax evasion facilitation offence also includes the offences set out above in relation to taxes imposed by any other country, where the offence occurs in the UK. 2
3. STEPS TAKEN BY THE COMPANY
3.1 We will implement and undertake such prevention procedures as are reasonable in all the circumstances to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion. We will do this by:
(a) Assessing areas of our business to establish where a risk of facilitating tax evasion may exist;
(b) Ensuring top level commitment to the prevention of facilitating tax evasion;
(c) Undertaking due diligence on agents and other third parties who act on our behalf;
(d) Communicating this policy to employees and providing training as appropriate; and
(e) Monitoring and reviewing this policy.
3.2 All managers and employees have a responsibility to ensure that our agents and other persons who are performing services on our behalf:
(a) do not engage in any activity, practice or conduct which would constitute a tax evasion facilitation offence under the CFA (see above); and
(b) promptly report to the Company Secretary or their manager any request or demand from a third party to facilitate the evasion of tax.
4. WHO MUST COMPLY WITH THIS POLICY?
This policy applies to all persons working for us or any Group Company or on our behalf in any capacity, including employees at all levels, directors, officers, agency workers, seconded workers, volunteers, interns, agents, contractors, external consultants, third-party representatives and business partners, sponsors, or any other person associated with us, wherever located.
5. WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE POLICY?
5.1 The board of directors has overall responsibility for ensuring this policy complies with our legal and ethical obligations, and that all those under our control comply with it. The board will review this policy periodically.
5.2 Management at all levels are responsible for ensuring those reporting to them understand and comply with this policy and are given adequate training as necessary.
5.3 You are responsible for your own conduct and are required to comply with this policy.
6. YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES
6.1 You must ensure that you read, understand and comply with this policy.
6.2 The prevention of tax evasion, or the facilitation of tax evasion, is the responsibility of all those working for us or under our control. You are required to avoid any activity that might lead to, or suggest, a breach of this policy.
6.3 You must notify the Company Secretary or your manager as soon as possible if you believe or suspect that a conflict with this policy has occurred, or may occur in the future. 3
7. HOW TO RAISE A CONCERN
7.1 You are encouraged to raise concerns about any issue or suspicion of tax evasion at the earliest possible stage.
7.2 If you believe or suspect that any breach of this policy has occurred or may occur, you must notify the Company Secretary or your manager as soon as possible.
7.3 If you are unsure about whether a particular act may constitute tax evasion, raise it with the Company Secretary or your manager.
7.4 The Company Secretary can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 01928 704666. All concerns will be treated in confidence and every effort will be made not to reveal your identity if that is your wish.
8. BREACHES OF THIS POLICY
8.1 Any employee who breaches this policy will face disciplinary action, which could result in dismissal for misconduct or gross misconduct.
8.2 We may terminate our relationship with other individuals and organisations working on our behalf if they breach this policy.