The UK government have announced they will introduce a new stricter civil penalty regime for practitioners that enable their clients to evade tax.
According to the Treasury, it is already a criminal offence to facilitate or encourage tax evasion. However the new measures, would appoint the same sanctions on advisors as those that are imposed on tax evaders. As it is stated, tax evaders and enablers may also be publicly named.
The criminal offence of assisting tax evasion will be extended to companies, by creating a new offence of corporate failure to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion. Moreover, a strict liability criminal offence of offshore tax evasion is being reconsidered after being temporarily shelved.
As stated by the Treasury, further sanctions will be introduced for tax avoidance since serial avoiders are ‘creating’ more tax avoidance schemes. These serial avoiders are considered to be publicly named as well, since the Treasury estimates that the schemes they will have to face will be the worst cases of tax avoidance. However, the Treasury is considering these penalties for all tax avoiders, not just for the serial avoiders.
Further legislation is being considered to stop avoiders and evaders from using tax administration processes and deadlines in an effort to frustrate or delay HMRC investigations.