A new offence has been introduced to deal with persons who facilitate “tax and duty evasion” with effect from 25 March 2005. Such Revenue offences carry serious penalties being punishable on conviction of indictment by a fine of up to €126,970 or imprisonment for up to 5 years or both. The section is widely drafted covering not just the evasion and attempted evasion of tax, but also “reckless” involvement in the fraudulent evasion or attempted evasion of tax. This is defined as disregarding a substantial risk such that the person is “culpable to a high degree”.
This is a widely drafted section with substantial penalties, and officers of companies should bear in mind that they may have an exposure if they are “reckless” as to the company’s compliance with it’s tax obligations.