Offshore tax evaders—criminal offences
Produced in partnership with Nicholas Griffin QC and Tom Broomfield of QEB Hollis Whiteman

The following Corporate Crime practice note produced in partnership with Nicholas Griffin QC and Tom Broomfield of QEB Hollis Whiteman provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Offshore tax evaders—criminal offences
  • Background to the strict liability offences for offshore tax evaders
  • What offences were created by FA 2016?
  • Who may be guilty of the offences?
  • Elements of the offences which the prosecution has to prove
  • Failing to give notice of being chargeable to tax
  • Failing to deliver a return
  • Making an inaccurate return
  • What is the relevant standard of proof?
  • Any applicable exclusions
  • More...

Offshore tax evaders—criminal offences

Background to the strict liability offences for offshore tax evaders

The government’s strategy for tackling offshore tax evasion was initially set out in HMRC’s 2014 No Safe Havens with a supplement issued in 2019. The general aims of No Safe Havens 2014 were that:

  1. there are no jurisdictions where UK taxpayers feel safe to hide their income and assets from HMRC

  2. would-be offshore evaders realise that the balance of risk is against them

  3. offshore evaders voluntarily pay the tax due and remain compliant

  4. those who do not come forward are detected and face vigorously-enforced sanctions; and

  5. there will be no place for facilitators of offshore evasion

As to the first and second aims, the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) marked 'an unprecedented step change' in its ability to tackle offshore evasion. The CRS involves an automatic and much increased exchange of taxpayer information at the international level. All countries committed to the CRS were required to exchange data by the end of September 2018. As of May 2019, over 100 jurisdictions have committed to automatically exchange financial account information under the CRS. For more information about CRS, see Practice Note: Automatic exchange of information—the Common Reporting Standard: a summary.

As to the third aim, HMRC’s approach involved giving people time to come forward to put their affairs in order before the widespread adoption of the

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