The International Adviser recently reported that according to international law firm RPC, HMRC is currently investigating 153 individuals for enabling tax evasion.
Those under investigation include tax advisers and other intermediaries. The definition of ‘enablers’ is wide and encompasses many different professionals such as wealth managers, accountants or technology companies that provide software which could potentially be used to distort profits, enabling businesses to evade tax. Also, those who offer advisory services to families, such as financial and estate planners, could be targeted if they're not careful.
With HMRC focusing on tax evasion investigations, this clamp down is a warning that the Government is no longer exclusively looking at the perpetrators of tax crime themselves.
There is a fine line between helping and enabling. My colleague, Colette Kelly, and I reviewed this in an article that we wrote recently.
Please note this article was written by Annette Fong, who is no longer with Ince. If you would like any advice in this regard, please contact Julia Dao.
“We are increasingly looking to tackle those professionals who help facilitate tax crime, with around 150 such enablers under criminal investigation. In addition, the Corporate Criminal Offence, introduced in 2017, makes it a criminal offence for an organisation to fail to prevent someone acting on their behalf from criminally facilitating tax evasion" says HMRC spokesperson.