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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77482 Find in a Library
Title: Tax Evasion, Criminality and Sentencing the Tax Offender
Journal: British Journal of Criminology  Volume:21  Issue:1  Dated:(January 1981)  Pages:47-57
Author(s): K D Deane
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 11
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: The circumstances under which the British tax collection agency chooses to prosecute those detected of tax evasion rather than to apply purely monetary sanctions were examined by means of an analysis of 98 unreported prosecutions from 1950 to 1974.
Abstract: The prosecuted cases represented only a tiny percentage of the total number of tax evaders detected each year in the United Kingdom. Four factors seemed prominent in the decision to prosecute: collusion, incomplete disclosure in response to a challenge by the Inland Revenue's Enquiry Branch, forgery, and the defendant's professional status as an accountant or lawyer. In 31 cases at least 2 of these factors were present. In the sample of the 98 prosecutions considered, 94 cases resulted in 161 convictions, 2 resulted in acquittals, and 2 were withdrawn or abandoned due to the defendants' ill health or death. Results indicated that tax evasion is a common and widely accepted activity in the United Kingdom. The chance of detection appears to be relatively low, and the risk of criminal adjudication of those detected is extremely small. Since few prosecutions lead to acquittal, the decision to prosecute is tantamount to a decision to impose the stigma of criminality on the offender. If conviction is obtained, offenders subordinate to the main offenders will suffer a fine. Major offenders are likely to be imprisoned on conviction. Professional advisers are as likely as anyone else to be imprisoned, even though professional ruin inevitably follows upon conviction. Finally, the limited evidence available on suspended sentences suggests that defendants' ages or subordinate status in the fraud are important factors in the decision to suspend the sentence. Tables, footnotes, and six references are provided.
Index Term(s): Decisionmaking; Discretionary decisions; Great Britain/United Kingdom; Prosecutorial discretion; Tax evasion; White collar crime
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