Commentary

A7.433 Cheating and conspiring to cheat

Administration and compliance

A7.433 Cheating and conspiring to cheat

A7.433 Cheating and conspiring to cheat

The common law offence of cheating was generally abolished by the Theft Act 1968, s 32(1), but has been specifically preserved for offences relating to the public revenue. The offence of cheating the public revenue may encompass any form of fraudulent conduct which results in HMRC being deprived of money to which they are lawfully entitled. It has been held that the offence does not require a positive act of deceit such as a false representation; an act of omission, such as the failure to make a return to the appropriate public authority, may be sufficient where the purpose of the omission is to avoid the payment of money which is due to that authority.

Criminal proceedings may also be instituted by the Commissioners in respect of conspiracy, where two or more taxpayers conspire together to defraud Her Majesty the Queen of lawful taxes due to her. This is an indictable common law offence. The essence of the crime is the agreement of two or more persons to defraud HMRC, usually two partners or two directors of a company, or a partner and his adviser, or an individual and an employee. The agreement to defraud may be evidenced by the joint action of the parties and the fraud on HMRC generally takes the form of falsification of accounts or books, omission of proceeds of sale, in the case of a trader, entries of fictitious purchases or expenses or total omission from the books of

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