Detailed guide: Tell HMRC about a company helping people to evade tax

From 30 September 2017, companies and partnerships will be liable if they fail to prevent individuals acting on their behalf from criminally facilitating tax evasion. They can use the defence that it had reasonable procedures in place to prevent its representatives from criminally facilitating tax evasion.

Criminal facilitation of tax evasion involves a person deliberately and dishonestly helping another person to evade tax. This doesn’t include the accidental, ignorant or negligent facilitation of tax evasion. This is referred to in the Criminal Finances Act 2017] as a ‘Tax Evasion Facilitation Offence’, which is defined in Section 45(5) in Part 3 of that Act.

This guidance is for companies or partnerships to report on their own behaviour – or ‘self-report’ – when they’ve failed to prevent the facilitation of UK tax evasion.

You must have the authorisation of the company or partnership concerned to self-report to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) on its behalf.

Rapid self-reporting doesn’t guarantee that a relevant body won’t be prosecuted, but it could be:

  • part of a relevant body’s defence, if liable under with the offences
  • taken into account by prosecutors when making decisions about prosecution
  • reflected in any associated penalties, if convicted

Report offences related to foreign tax offences to the Serious Fraud Office.

Contact HMRC’s fraud hotline if you want to report tax evasion which you suspect another person or relevant body is committing.

Suspicious Activity Report (SAR)

If in the ‘regulated sector’, as defined in schedule 9 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, you or the relevant body (including a company or partnership) for whom you act may be obliged to submit a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) to the National Crime Agency.

If this is the case, submit the SAR before you send an email. Find out more information about SARs.

Your self-reporting email is not a SAR. You may need to submit a SAR as well as self-report.

It’s important that you read the Before you contact HMRC and Information you should try to include in your email sections of this guide before you send your email.

Before you contact HMRC

We suggest you consider seeking professional legal advice before you send your email.

You must have been authorised by the relevant body (including a company or partnership) to self-report to HMRC on its behalf.

You may commit a criminal offence if you give wrong information in your email, or include information in it that you don’t honestly believe to be true.

We recommend you tell us if you’ve included information in your email that has been given to you by others.

Your email should be used to report that the relevant body – on whose behalf you are making the self-report – has failed to prevent someone from criminally facilitating tax evasion. In this case, it may be guilty of an offence under Part 3 of the Criminal Finances Act 2017.

Sending an email is voluntary. You and the relevant body upon whose behalf you’re acting have a right to remain silent. You can give as much information in your email as you want.

Only provide the information that you already have. For your own safety, don’t try to find out more information so you can send an email.

You must not encourage anyone to commit a crime or continue committing a crime to get more information and must not continue committing a crime yourself to get more information.

Once you’ve been authorised to send an email on behalf of a relevant body, don’t tell other people that you’re sending it.

Information in your email might be used to decide whether to start a criminal investigation and might be used as evidence in a prosecution or other court proceedings.

After you’ve sent your email, you’ll receive an acknowledgement of receipt and a unique reference number separately. We recommend you keep this and your self report for future reference. You may not hear again from an officer of HMRC for some time, or at all.

Once you’ve sent your email, it will be considered by HMRC and a decision made as to what further action is needed.

Where the law permits, HMRC may also share the information provided in your email with other agencies. Find out more about how HMRC will use any information provided in this form.

To self-report a person who has facilitated corporate criminal tax evasion Email:

Information you should try to include in your email

Information about the reporter and relevant body

1. Your name.

2. Confirmation you wish to make a report on behalf of a company or partnership, explaining that a person performing services for or on its behalf has criminally facilitated the evasion of tax.

3. If the tax being evaded is UK tax or a tax owed in another country (or both).

4. The name of the relevant body on behalf of which you wish to make this report.

5. Your role within that relevant body, or on what basis you act for it in making this report (for example, director, company secretary, partner, lawyer instructed by the company or partnership, accountant instructed by the company or partnership).

6. If there’s a director or partner of the relevant body who HMRC can contact to confirm that you’re authorised to speak on its behalf.

7. Who HMRC should contact if we want to discuss this report, and how we should contact them.

8. The relevant body’s:

a. Legal name
b. Trading name (if different)
c. Address
d. Country of formation
e. Registration number
f. VAT number or Tax Reference
g. HMRC Customer Relationship Manager (if it has one)

h. Digital tax account number (if it has one)

9. If, to your knowledge, the relevant body previously reported wrongdoing to HMRC about failing to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion. Give reference numbers for any reports if it has.

10. If the relevant body engages in activity that means it needs to be authorised, licenced, supervised or regulated by a supervisor or regulator. Give details of the regulator, supervisor or licensing authority if it does.

11. If you’ve informed any other law enforcement agencies, regulatory bodies, or supervisors about this wrongdoing.

12. If you’ve completed a SAR. Give the SAR reference number if you have.

The tax evasion facilitation offence information

13. If someone performing services for or on behalf of the relevant body deliberately and knowingly helped a taxpayer evade taxes.

14. What the relationship or connection between the relevant body and the person performing services for on its behalf is (for example, director, employee, agent or other person performing services for, or on behalf of, the company or partnership).

15. What help has been given by the person acting for, or on behalf of, the company or partnership to help the taxpayer evade tax.

16. When the activity happened.

17. If the activity is ongoing.

18. How the activity was discovered.

The tax evasion offence information

19. What taxes have been evaded by the taxpayer or taxpayers that have been helped (for example, Income tax, National Insurance, VAT, Capital Gains Tax, corporation tax, PAYE, customs duty, inheritance tax or other).

20. A brief outline of how these taxes were evaded.

21. If the evasion is ongoing.

22. If you’ve been able to identify specific taxpayers involved in the evasion.

23. If you know how many taxpayers have been helped in the same way to evade tax.

24. If you know the total amount of tax evaded by these taxpayers.

Information about the prevention procedures

25. If the relevant body has procedures in place to prevent persons acting for or on its behalf from criminally facilitating tax evasion.

If it has, advise when these procedures were produced or last updated, and if you would be willing to provide a copy of these procedures to HMRC if requested.

If it hasn’t, advise why this is the case.

26. Advise which of the following are part of the relevant body’s prevention procedures:

a. Risk assessment
b. Proportionality of risk-based prevention procedures
c. Top level commitment
d. Due diligence
e. Communication
f. Training
g. Monitoring and review

Definition of words

Company Registration Number

Your company registration number is your Companies House number in the UK. If you’re based in another jurisdiction, this information will be the number given when registering your company with the relevant authorities.

Customer Relationship Manager

A Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) is a person appointed by HMRC to act as a dedicated point of contact for large businesses in the UK.

Person performing services for or on behalf of a relevant body

This relates to any person who performs services for or on behalf of the relevant body. This is not defined by contractual status but is based on the nature of the service that they are providing when acting in the capacity of a person who performs such services.

This is referred to in Section 44(4) in Part 3 of the Criminal Finances Act 2017.

Relevant body

A report can only be submitted on behalf of a relevant body. Here, this means incorporated bodies (typically companies) and partnerships only. This is defined in Section 44(2) in Part 3 of the Criminal Finances Act 2017.

Tax evasion

Tax evasion means fraudulently evading or cheating HMRC of tax that is lawfully owed. It does not include making a mistake about the tax that is owed: it requires dishonesty.

This is referred to in the Criminal Finances Act 2017 as a Tax Evasion Offence, which is defined in section 45(4) of that Act.

Source: HMRC

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