Penalties for tax evasion in the UK

Tax evasion is one of the most common crimes committed by both individuals and companies and each country has its own penalties when it comes to the punishment of such offences. In the UK, tax evasion is defined as the deliberately failure of paying the legal taxes one is subject to. Most of the times, those committing offences related to tax evasion think they can obtain a lot of benefits, however, most of the times these crimes are discovered sooner rather than later. That is the time to get in touch with a good team of defence lawyers in order to avoid severe penalties.

What are the penalties for tax evasion in the UK, anyway? Let’s find out below.

Fines represent the “easiest” penalty for tax evasion

In order to determine the penalty an offender is subject to, the UK authorities will first have to establish the seriousness of the crime. This is why, tax evasion is divided among several categories. These can be VAT tax evasion, income tax evasion, public revenue tax evasion, smuggling tax evasion and false documents tax evasion. 

The penalty for tax evasion will be established based on the amount of money the state has lost. For example, fines ranging between 5,000 and 20,000 GBP will be imposed for tax evasion in cases of income and VAT tax evasion. However, it is important to know that the amount of money and the period in which the evasion was committed is very important. If the investigation of the authorities leads to long-time tax frauds, the penalty will be an unlimited fine or even jail time.

Imprisonment for tax frauds can start at minimum 6 months

If the amount of money the offender has cheated the state with is large, the minimum imprisonment period will start at 6 months. However, it can be of maximum 7 years for serious offences which can be translated in years of tax evasion. 

The investigation for tax evasion will be conducted by the HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) and can imply tax return verifications which can prove to be inconsistent with the revenues of a tax payer.

Tax evasion cases are prosecuted by the Crown Court in the UK which is also the ultimate authority to dictate the sentence. 

When tried for tax evasion, the help of a lawyer is essential, mainly because some people mistake tax evasion for tax minimization which is normal and legal practice up to a point. So, in order to avoid tax evasion, legal advice is necessary.