London – September 8, 2017 – A Cooley team has assisted on the initiative to draft sector guidance issued by the Law Society of England and Wales on the new corporate offence of failing to prevent tax evasion.
The forthcoming law, effective September 30 as part of the Criminal Finances Act, makes companies and partnerships criminally responsible if they fail to prevent the criminal facilitation of tax evasion by a member of their staff, external agent or other ‘associated person’ – even where a business was not involved in the act or was unaware of it. The new law is applicable to UK firms and companies, but also can apply to non-UK firms and companies, and the tax evasion element of the offence encompasses foreign as well as UK tax. The purpose of the Law Society’s practice note is to draw lawyers’ attention to the potential issues raised by the new regime. The guidance can be viewed here.
“This new offence will further challenge lawyers managing criminal risk compliance for their firms,” said Cooley partner Louise Delahunty. “While existing risk management procedures will require some changes, we are hopeful that this guidance will ultimately provide practical and clear help to the profession. We welcome feedback and anticipate that the guidance will mature once the law is fully implemented.”
The Cooley team assisting the Law Society was led by Louise Delahunty and included Natasha Kaye and Victoria Anderson, director of risk and compliance.
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