1.1 At RJ McLeod it is our policy to conduct all of our business in an honest and ethical manner.
1.2 We take a zero-tolerance approach to tax evasion. This type of conduct is absolutely prohibited whether committed or facilitated by employees or anyone else acting on RJ McLeod’s behalf.
1.3 The purpose of this particular Policy is to:
(a) set out our responsibilities and the responsibilities of those working for us, in observing and upholding our position on the facilitation of tax evasion; and
(b) provide information and guidance to those working with us on how to recognise and deal with these tax evasion issues.
1.4 In this Policy, associated person means employees, agents and other persons who perform services on behalf of the Company.
1.5 In this Policy, third party means any individual or organisation you come into contact with during the course of your work that is not an associated person.
2.1 All associated persons must strictly comply with this Policy. It is important that you take time to read and comply with this Policy.
3.1 The UK’s Corporate Criminal Offence of the Failure to Prevent the Facilitation of Tax Evasion (‘CCO’) is effective from 30 September 2017. The penalties under CCO include an unlimited financial penalty and/or ancillary orders such as confiscation orders or serious crime prevention orders. Non-compliance could result in a criminal investigation by HMRC with a potential prosecution.
3.2 Aside from the implications of a prosecution, or resulting regulatory action, we could be excluded from tendering for all public contracts and face severe damage to our reputation. We therefore take our responsibilities in this area very seriously.
3.3 Any breach of this Policy will be taken seriously and may result in disciplinary action (likely amounting to gross misconduct, leading to dismissal) as well as the potential for an employee to incur personal criminal liability.
4.1 Fraudulent tax evasion is a crime and involves dishonest behaviour. A ‘person’ behaves dishonestly if they know (or ‘turn a blind eye’ to) whether they have a liability to pay tax but decide not to pay it/declare it. Dishonest behaviour may involve a person simply deciding not to declare money they make. It may involve someone deliberately trying to hide the source of money, or even intentionally misrepresenting where money came from.
4.2 Note that fraudulent tax evasion does not arise where a person makes a mistake or is careless. There needs to be a dishonest intent.
4.3 A ‘person’ as set out above could mean a company i.e. RJ McLeod. Tax evasion by, or carried out on behalf of, the Company is absolutely prohibited.
5.1 CCO offences can only apply to RJ McLeod when there has been ‘fraudulent tax evasion’ facilitated by an ‘associated person’ to the Company, both as defined above.
5.2 The facilitation comprises being knowingly concerned in, or taking steps with a view to, the fraudulent tax evasion of another, as well as aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring another person’s offence of tax evasion. Note however that the associated person does not commit a tax evasion offence when they inadvertently, or even negligently, facilitate another’s tax evasion. There must be criminal intent and thus the facilitator is an ‘accomplice’. At its simplest, this will occur when the facilitator knows that he is helping another person to carry out a fraud.
5.3 Generic examples of the facilitation of tax evasion could include:
i) You become aware, in the course of your work, that a third party has made, or intends to make, a false statement relating to tax, has failed to disclose income or gains or register with HMRC (or equivalent), has delivered or intends to deliver a false document relating to tax, or has set up, or intends to set up, a structure to try to hide income, gains, or assets from a tax authority;
ii) You become aware, in the course of your work, that a supplier or other third party has deliberately failed to register for VAT (or the equivalent), or failed to account for VAT;
iii) A supplier or other third party requests payment in cash from RJ McLeod and/or refuses to sign a formal commission or fee agreement, or provide an invoice or receipt for a payment made by RJ McLeod;
iv) You become aware, in the course of your work, that a third party working for RJ McLeod as an employee asks to be treated as a self-employed contractor, but without any material changes to their working conditions;
v) A supplier or other subcontractor is paid gross when they should have been paid net, under a scheme such as the Construction Industry Scheme;
vi) A third party requests that payment is made to a country or geographic location different from where the third party resides or conducts business;
vii) A third party to whom RJ McLeod have provided services asks us to change the description of services rendered on an invoice in a way that seems designed to obscure the nature of the services provided;
viii) A supplier or subcontractor has provided the contracted goods or services but invoices for these in the name of a third party;
ix) You receive an invoice from a third party that appears to be non-standard, or customised.
6.1 It is likely that most ‘facilitation’ will occur in exchange for an ‘inducement’. It is not always as simple as saying that the inducement would be a cash payment of some type. Equally, the ‘inducement’ could be via a non-cash bribe, e.g. some types of gifts, hospitality, entertainment, sponsorship, etc. Additionally, facilitation could arise from ‘turning a blind eye’ to tax evasion due to intimidation and/or threats.
6.2 The Company’s Anti-Corruption and Bribery Policy sets out a number of ways that ‘inducements’ could be given, and therefore should be read in conjunction with this Anti-Facilitation of Tax Evasion Policy.
7.1 You must ensure that you read, understand and comply with this Policy.
7.2 The prevention, detection and reporting of either the facilitation of, or actual tax evasion are the responsibility of all those working for us or under our control. All workers are required to avoid any activity that might lead to, or suggest, a breach of this Policy.
7.3 You must notify the Finance Director as soon as possible if you believe or suspect that a conflict with this Policy is occurring, has occurred, or may occur in the future.
7.4 We wish to reassure you that if you raise concerns with regards to the application of this Policy you will not be subject to any disciplinary action or unfavourable treatment (or any threats relating to these).
7.5 Our zero-tolerance approach to tax evasion must be communicated to all suppliers, subcontractors and business partners at the outset of our business relationship with them and as appropriate
8.1 You are required and encouraged to raise concerns about any issue or suspicion of malpractice at the earliest possible stage. If you are unsure whether a particular act constitutes tax evasion, or if you have any other queries, these should be raised with the Finance Director.
9.1 The Joint Managing Directors, on behalf of the Board, have overall responsibility for ensuring this Policy complies with our obligations, and that all those under our control comply with it. Management at all levels is responsible for ensuring those reporting to them are made aware of and understand this Policy and are given adequate and regular training on it.
10.1 The Directors will monitor the effectiveness and review the implementation of this Policy, regularly considering its suitability, adequacy and effectiveness.
10.2 This Policy does not form part of any employee’s contract of employment and it may be amended at any time.
Joint Managing Director
Issued: October 2023