As the Criminal Finances Act came into force over the weekend, payroll provider RACS Group has warned that unprepared recruiters are personally at risk of criminal conviction. The new legislation is now in force with businesses that fail to prevent the criminal facilitation of tax evasion now at risk of being charged with a criminal offence and facing hefty fines if convicted.
RACS Group is urging greater understanding within the sector that, crucially, the Act applies not only to employees or agents of a business, but to every contractor and provider of personnel within its supply chain.
“Fail to prepare and prepare to fail,” says RACS Group chairman and founder Terry Hillier. “As this new legislation takes effect, businesses can't afford the legal, financial and reputational damage of non-compliance, and many of the companies we speak with are simply not aware of the risks they’re facing.”
Failing to prevent the criminal facilitation of tax evasion puts individuals in the firing line of conviction of a criminal offence, and executives being unaware of breaches is no defence. The workforce of those same businesses is often engaged through a growing number of intermediaries, such as subcontractors and umbrella companies, which multiplies risk exponentially.
The only defence comes from demonstrating robust prevention procedures that take account of all reasonable circumstances. To better position companies ahead of the Act’s implementation, RACS has been sharing in-house and industry expertise with its clients, and is extending its programme of free training and awareness workshops for consultants.
Hillier added: “We're here to make things as easy as possible, so we'll keep offering free training until all our clients feel comfortable with these changes.”