Cheating the public revenue
Cheating the public revenue

The following Corporate Crime guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Cheating the public revenue
  • Offence of cheating the public revenue
  • Cheating the revenue—the indictment
  • Elements of the offence of cheating the public revenue
  • Penalties and sentencing for cheating the public revenue
  • Missing trader intra-community (MTIC) or carousel fraud

Offence of cheating the public revenue

The offence of cheating the public revenue is a common law offence triable only on indictment. This means that, where the public revenue is the victim, the fraud will always be tried in the Crown Court, even though, had it been perpetrated privately between individuals, it might be suitable for summary trial.

Section 32(1)(a) of the Theft Act 1968 (TA 1968) preserved by the offence while abolishing the offence of cheating in general.

The Court of Appeal has determined that it is reasonably to be assumed that Parliament has deliberately left the common law offence untouched by statutory changes in this area because it recognised that it was appropriate to do so for the protection of the public (see paragraph [34] of its judgment in R v Dosanjh). In that case, the Court of Appeal held there was good reason for charging the common law offence in relation to 'missing trader intra-community' (MTIC) frauds (see further: Missing trader intra-community (MTIC) or carousel fraud).

The offence itself covers a broad category of offending and is widely used by HMRC despite the development of many statutory offences including those under relevant revenue and customs legislation or under the Fraud Act 2006 (FA 2006) and TA 1968. The conduct most likely to be penalised is making a false