This Policy has the support of Senior Officers and Members of the Council.
Torbay Council has adopted a zero tolerance to all forms of tax evasion, whether under UK law or the law of a foreign country, and is committed to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion. This Policy has the support of Senior Officers and Members of the Council.
Tax evasion and its facilitation are already a criminal offence, but it had been difficult to attribute criminal liability to a corporation where an offence has occurred. The Corporate Criminal Offence (CCO) legislation came into effect in 2017 with the aim of overcoming difficulties of attributing criminal liability to relevant bodies for the criminal acts of employees, agents or those that provide services on their behalf. Under the Criminal Finances Act 2017 (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Act’) a “Relevant body” means a body corporate or partnership (wherever incorporated or formed), local authorities fall into this definition.
The CCO legislation does not radically alter what is criminal but focuses on who is held to account for acts contrary to law. This is by focussing on the failure to prevent the crimes of those who act on behalf of the Council. An offence may be committed where a ‘relevant body’ fails to prevent an ‘associated person’ criminally facilitating the evasion of a tax, whether the tax evaded is owed in the UK or in a foreign country.
The CCO legislation is aimed at offences committed by those who act for or on behalf of the Council, the legislation does not hold the Council to account for offences by its customers.
The penalties for this offence will include:-
The Council would also suffer reputational damage, were it to be found guilty of such an offence.
If the Council can demonstrate that it has put in place a system of reasonable procedures that identifies and mitigates the risk of facilitating tax evasion, then prosecution is unlikely, as it may be able to raise a defence.
All wholly owned subsidiary companies of Torbay Council must adopt a similar Policy.