Criminal Finances Act: SMEs should act now to avoid hefty fines

Legal, accountancy and financial advisory businesses face large fines if they fail to prepare for the forthcoming Criminal Finances Act, which comes into force next month.

Under the terms of the Act, companies and partnerships will be criminally liable if they fail to prevent tax evasion by a member of staff or an external agent, even if they were unaware of it. Firms may protect themselves from this by showing they have reasonable processes in place to identify and reduce risks.

“Nobody expects businesses to have done everything by the end of September, but they should have had a good go at carrying out a risk assessment and working out the extent to which they might already have procedures in place that could be helpful.”

Together with changes to the laws governing money laundering and enforcement powers concerning terrorist property, one of the most important sections of the Act covers corporate criminal liability for tax evasion.

Read our briefing note to assist when putting systems and prevention procedures in place to mitigate business risk arising from the new offense.

SMEs should act now to ensure these procedures are in place by September!

If you would like to discuss this matter in further detail, please contact our tax specialist your usual Beavis Morgan Partner.