HMRC have responded to a Freedom of Information request with details of the number of live CCO investigations.
A question that is often asked is whether there have yet been any prosecutions under the Corporate Criminal Offence (CCO) legislation. Our answer has generally been that it is likely to be at least 2021 before such prosecutions take place, if only because the legislation only applies to offences that have taken place since 30 September 2017 and it will take time for relevant tax returns to be submitted, for HMRC to identify suitable cases and for the required evidence to be obtained. On 10 February 2020 HMRC responded to a Freedom of Information request and confirmed they have nine live CCO investigations with a further 21 opportunities under review. While this may not change the timetable referred to above, the numbers suggest that HMRC are actively looking to develop cases and the number of sectors that are involved is interesting because they are clearly not confined to those identified in the original guidance as high risk: the financial, tax advisory and legal sectors.
HMRC’s response included the following information:
“As at 31 December 2019
The number and spread of investigations clearly demonstrate that HMRC are actively enforcing the legislation across all tax and duty regimes and across organisations of all shapes and sizes.”
Some businesses have yet to undertake the required risk assessment and/or introduce training for relevant staff, often because of lack of awareness or because it is not considered a priority. It is worth noting that failure to carry out a risk assessment will mean that the business will automatically be deemed high risk for governance under HMRC’s new Business Risk Review process. If you would like more information on performing a risk assessment, which can typically be undertaken at a half day workshop, please speak to your usual KPMG contact.
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