Clarks conduct all of our business in an honest and ethical manner. We have a zero tolerance approach to the facilitation of tax evasion, whether under UK law or under the law of any foreign country and are committed to complying with all laws relevant to countering tax evasion in all the jurisdictions in which we operate, including the Criminal Finances Act 2017.
Tax evasion is a major issue in world trade, despite efforts to prevent it and affects us as a UK organisation if it is criminally facilitated anywhere in our business, even outside of the UK. It is damaging to society, diverting money and resources from those who need them most, hindering economic and social development.
Tax evasion is the illegal non-payment or under-payment of taxes. It is usually perpetrated by not declaring or falsely declaring taxes due to the relevant tax authority. Tax evasion is a criminal offence. It can be committed by an individual, eg in relation to income tax or VAT or a legal entity, e.g. in relation to corporation tax.
The offence has three ingredients, all of which must exist for criminal liability to arise:
criminal tax evasion by a taxpayer, e.g. by a client, customer or supplier of Clarks
criminal facilitation of that tax evasion by Clarks employee, agent or any other person performing services for or on our behalf, and
failure by Clarks to prevent our employee, agent, etc from committing the criminal facilitation
This corporate offence can be committed regardless of whether the tax evaded is owed in the UK or in a foreign country.
There only defence is to have reasonable prevention procedures in place. At Clarks we have internal policies and processes designed to ensure that Clarks comply with the legal and regulatory requirements applicable. Clarks Anti-Tax Evasion Policy and risk assessment are designed to ensure that we comply with the requirements and obligations set out in legislation, regulations, rules and Industry Guidance.
We also ensure that our trading agreements which govern our relationships with our customers and suppliers clearly state that we expect our business partners to also be compliant with all relevant legislation. We expect all our staff, contractors, suppliers and other business partners to join us in our commitment not to facilitate tax evasion. Any actual or potential tax evasion facilitation caused or contributed to by our activities or business relationships must be reported as soon as possible to firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Compliance team will determine whether the concern requires escalation to the relevant authorities.