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Tax avoidance, tax evasion and tax fraud cases prosecuted with outcome (R017036) Oct 2017

Thank you for your e-mail in which you requested the following information under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA): 

  1. The number of tax avoidance, tax evasion and tax fraud cases prosecuted during the years 2015, 2016 and up to September 1 2017, broken down by year and month and outcome (ie court, direct measure etc)

    You additionally confirmed that your request involves the following legislation:

  • Finance Act 2000 S144(1) - Knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of income tax
  • Finance Act 2000 S144(1) - Know a person was concerned in the fraudulent evasion of income tax
  • Tax Credits Act 2002 S35 - Fraudulently obtain tax credit - Sequence 1
  • Tax Credits Act 2002 S35 - Fraudulently obtain tax credit - Sequence 2
  • Taxes Management Act 1970 S106A(1) - Person knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of income tax
  • Value Added Tax Act 1994 S72(1) - Knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of VAT
  • Value Added Tax Act 1994 S72(1) - Knowingly concerned in the taking of steps with a view to the fraudulent evasion of VAT
  • Value Added Tax Act 1994 S72(1) - Knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of VAT of another person
  • Value Added Tax Act 1994 S72(1) - Knowingly concerned in the taking of steps with a view to fraudulent evasion of VAT by another person
  • Value Added Tax Act 1994 S72(3) - Produce, furnish, send and make use with intent to deceive
  • Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 S170B - Take preparatory steps for evasion of excise duty
  • Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 S170(2)(a) - In relation to goods knowingly concerned in fraudulent evasion/attempt evasion of duty chargeable on goods
  • Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 S170(2)(a) - In relation to goods concerned in fraudulent evasion of duty including indecent obscene under 16
  • Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 S170(2)(b) - In relation to goods knowingly concerned in the evasion of the prohibition on importation of firearms

It should be noted that tax evasion or tax fraud cases may also be prosecuted as a common law fraud and not as a specific statutory offence. It is not possible to identify common law frauds relevant to your request from the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) case management system. 

It may firstly assist if I explain that the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service uses a live operational case management system, specifically designed to receive criminal and death reports from the police and other specialist reporting agencies and to manage the cases for prosecution purposes. The information held on the system is structured and coded to meet these operational needs, rather than for statistical reporting or research purposes.  

You have requested data about cases prosecuted and have also mentioned the outcome of direct measure.  You may be interested to know that where we are able to provide data this data relates to the number of charges reported and not individual cases reported.  There may be more than one charge involved in one reported case. In relation to the outcome of direct measure, whilst the Procurator Fiscal may consider that it is in the public interest to take action in relation to a charge, prosecution may not be the most appropriate course of action and for those charges there are a number of direct measures available.  More details about direct measures can be found in the Prosecution Code which is accessible on our web-site at

http://www.copfs.gov.uk/images/Documents/Prosecution_Policy_Guidance/Prosecution20Code20_Final20180412__1.pdf

The data provided in the table below relates to the above legislation reported during years 2015, 2016, up to the end of September 2017 and includes the outcomes both court and non court.  Whilst I note you have requested data up to 1 September, the data provided was extracted from our electronic system at the end of September 2017 so the data provided in the table is a more current reflection of the position then requested.  If you would prefer that the data reflects the position up to 1 September 2017 then please let us know and we will amend accordingly. 

Various Tax evasion charges reported to COPFS 1 April 2015 to 30 September 2017

         
 Action taken re Charge

 

Financial Year Reported

Court

Outcome

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18 *

  Convicted

45

34

 

 

Not Convicted

7

5

 

 

Ongoing

33

64

22

 

No Further Action

11

7

 

Court Total

 

96

110

22

         
Not a separate charge total

 

8

1

 

Direct Measure Total

 

1

4

1

No Action Total

 

26

22

3

No Decision Total

 

47

47

29

Grand Total

 

178

184

55

         
* to 30 September 2017

       

 

Not a Separate Charge



The total number of charges reported will also include charges where action was taken in
relation to other charges reported in the case, for example, because the prosecutor took 
the view that an alternative charge was more appropriate or because details of the charge
were included within the body of another charge for evidential reasons.



 

 

There you have asked for a breakdown by month I have concluded that this information is exempt from release under section 38(1)(b) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA). This exemption applies because the numbers involved in the court data in particular are sufficiently small that to release this information could lead to the identification of the persons involved. This information would be personal data of third parties and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Schedule 1 of the Data Protection Act 1998. This is an absolute exemption and is not subject to the public interest test.