The Criminal Finances Act 2017 came into force from 30th September 2017. This establishes two categories of corporate offence:
i. the failure to prevent the facilitation of the evasion of UK tax;
ii. the failure to prevent the facilitation of the evasion of foreign tax.
These make a company liable for failing to prevent a person ‘associated’ with it from facilitating tax evasion. An associated person is defined as “a person who performs services for or on behalf of a relevant body”. These could be an employee, agent, subsidiary, distributor or a joint venture.
Criminal facilitation occurs if the associated person either:
i. is knowingly concerned in, or takes steps with a view to, the fraudulent evasion of tax by another person; or
ii. aids, abets, counsels or procures the commission of a tax evasion offence.
An associated person is defined as including employees at all levels, agency workers, seconded workers, volunteers, interns, contractors, external consultants, third party representatives and business partners. This is not an exhaustive list.
The best defence against Tax Evasion and facilitation of Tax Evasion remains the vigilance of all those associated with the business and the adoption of a common-sense approach supported by our clear whistleblowing procedure.
In applying common sense, people should consider:
i. is there anything unusual about the manner in which someone associated with the company is conducting their relationship with the company or the third party (usually a customer)?
ii. is there anything unusual about the customer’s or associate’s conduct or behaviour in your dealings with them?
iii. are unusual methods being used to make payments?
BrightHouse Policy The BrightHouse Group is committed to doing business ethically and with integrity. This includes taking steps to prevent the offences of facilitation of tax evasion.
To enable this, the BrightHouse Group is committed to a continual cycle of:
i. risk assessment;
ii. implementing proportionate prevention procedures;
iii. due diligence;
iv. communication and training; and
v. monitoring and review.
The Group, as part of its commitment to communicate, makes the following public statement.
The BrightHouse Group of companies has a zero tolerance approach to all forms of tax evasion and the facilitation of tax evasion, whether under UK law or under the law of any foreign country.
Employees and Associates of the Company must not undertake any transactions which:
i. cause the Company to commit a tax evasion offence; or
ii. facilitate a tax evasion offence by a third party who is not an associate of the Company.
We are committed to acting professionally, fairly and with integrity in all our business dealings and relationships wherever we operate. To support this we will implement and enforce effective systems to counter tax evasion facilitation.
At all times, business should be conducted in a manner which prevents the opportunity for and incidence of tax evasion.
Responsibility for anti-tax evasion and anti-facilitation of tax evasion ultimately lies with the BrightHouse Board.
If you feel anything is wrong or that facilitation may be taking place, please contact Kate Porter immediately on 01923 488328 or the Whistleblowing hotline on 01923 488300.
This policy should be read in conjunction with: