PwC comments on Government's Tackling Tax Evasion and Avoidance paper

Published at 14:43 PM on 19 March 2015

Simon Wilks, tax partner at PwC, said:

"It's good to see the Government taking a clear stand on tax evasion which is illegal. We welcome measures to achieve this, as responsible financial advisers do not help their clients engage in tax evasion or look the other way if they become aware of it.

Corporate offence for failing to prevent tax evasion

"The big news is the introduction of a new offence for failure to prevent evasion. This will be  a sea change for companies who come into contact with people intent on cheating. Companies will not only have to ensure they are not helping people to evade tax but also stop evasion happening. The fact Government is consulting on this measures recognises the challenges - how do companies stop people intent on concealing assets and cheating tax? It's unclear whether bosses could be personally liable for an employee's, client's or customer's misdeeds.

Removing need for intent to prosecute offshore evaders

"Introducing a lower burden of proof to prosecute offshore evasion risks bringing criminal charges to people whose biggest crime has been not to understand their obligations. In an increasing international world there are lots of reasons why someone might have set up an offshore account, for example while working overseas. We'd like to understand how the new rules will ensure the penalties are properly targeted.

Increasing financial penalties for facilitators of off shore evasion

"We strongly support penalising advisers who choose to break the law or turn the other way when they see evasion. Extensive safeguards will be needed as the measures announced today could also affect those who had no intention of breaking the law, given legislation is not always clear. . "

Other announcements

Separately the Government has asked the regulatory bodies who police professional standards to maximise their role in setting and enforcing clear professional standards around the facilitation and promotion of avoidance.

Mary Monfries, head of tax policy at PwC, added: "There’s a critical need to build trust and understanding in the tax system, and the role that tax and legal professionals play and we intend to participate fully in discussions about how this can best be achieved. We are already working with the professional institutes to update the existing professional code of conduct so that it is more easily understood by those outside the profession. We look forward to taking this to the next stage as a profession "


About PwC

At PwC, our purpose is to build trust in society and solve important problems. We’re a network of firms in 157 countries with more than 208,000 people who are committed to delivering quality in assurance, advisory and tax services. Find out more and tell us what matters to you by visiting us at

PwC refers to the PwC network and/or one or more of its member firms, each of which is a separate legal entity. Please see for further details. © 2016 PwC. All rights reserved

« Budget: PwC comments on the spectrum | Homepage | PwC: UK unsecured debt set to rise to nearly £10,000 per household by the end of 2016 »

  • Contact us
  • +44 (0) 20 7213 1768

Specific and out of hours contacts