Modern Slavery Act
The government has published updated guidance on Transparency in Supply Chains, which is intended to assist companies in complying with their duties under the Modern Slavery Act 2015. The revised guidance elaborates on what best practice is perceived to be. It emphasises that the statements should demonstrate continuous yearly improvement, and that previous years’ statements should be made available online, allowing progress over time to be measure. The updated guidance is available here.
The tribunal fees refund scheme has now opened to applications. Fees will be repaid, plus interest of 0.5%.
Click here for more information and to apply.
Facilitation of tax evasion – new criminal offence
The Criminal Finances Act 2017 has introduced a new strict liability corporate criminal offence: the failure to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion. Companies, partnerships and other ‘relevant bodies’ (such as charities) can be prosecuted and suffer a potentially unlimited fine if an employee or other person “acting on their behalf” facilitates the evasion of tax. Similar to offences under the Bribery Act 2010, a defence is available if the corporate can demonstrate that it had reasonable policies and procedures in place to prevent those acting on its behalf from facilitating tax evasion. Organisations will need to conduct a risk assessment and put in place proportionate policies and procedures to address the risks identified. HMRC have published guidance on the new offence and the reasonable procedures defence (see here).
From an employment perspective, all staff should be made aware of resulting policies and procedures. Appropriate wording should be included in all employment and consultancy contracts requiring compliance with the organisation’s anti-facilitation of tax evasion policy.