To date, much of the focus of the Criminal Finances Act has been on firms which provide bespoke financial or tax-related services to clients. However, the Act extends, in theory, to the entire supply chain of any business.
HMRC has issued guidance with six guiding principles to help companies to comply with the new Act, which became effective on 1 September 2017. Businesses should undertake risk assessments of their products, services, client data and internal systems that could be used to facilitate tax evasion. After making these assessments, companies may need to upgrade their processes and systems to address these risks.
The new offence is committed by a relevant body (a partnership or body corporate) that fails to prevent an associated person (an employee, agent or person providing such services) criminally facilitating the evasion of tax (whether UK or foreign).