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Jessica Susannah Eden

Jessica is a Partner in the Tax Disputes team and an accredited CEDR accredited mediator.

On 26 January 2023 HM Revenue & Customs announced that, as of 1 January 2023, it has nine live Corporate Criminal Offenses investigations for the failure to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion, with a further 26 investigation opportunities under review. These live and potential investigations cover 11 different business sectors including software providers, labor provision, transport, accountancy and legal services.

Taxpayers have the right to appeal HMRC’s decisions to the Tax Tribunal in most circumstances. In reality, many find the appeal process too arduous, time consuming and risky; resulting in taxpayers conceding or settling matters with otherwise good prospects of success. We expect that the recommendations of the Tax Law Review Committee, if implemented, will improve taxpayers’ access to justice and level the playing field between taxpayers and HMRC.

On 25 August 2020, HMRC confirmed that there are now 10 ongoing investigations concerning the corporate criminal offence of “failure to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion (CCO) (see here). This follows HMRC’s previous update on the matter in February 2020 (see here). While this indicates that HMRC have only opened one new investigation since December 2019, a further 22 “live opportunities” are currently under review, which marks a significant increase in activity during the course of this year.  

This brings the total number of live CCO investigations and opportunities to 32. It is clear from this that, despite the impact of Covid-19 on resources, HMRC is nonetheless continuing to increase scrutiny through the CCO in its pursuit of corporate criminal tax evasion offences

On 10 February 2020 HMRC disclosed that it has 30 potential cases underway under the UK’s corporate criminal offence of “failure to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion” (“CCO”), split between nine ongoing investigations and 21 potential investigations (see here). Whilst there have been no confirmed CCO cases to date,…