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Unexplained Wealth Orders

Question

What are Unexplained Wealth Orders and can HMRC use them?

Answer

An Unexplained Wealth Order came into the legislation on 1st February 2018 and is devised to confiscate the proceeds of crime by using civil powers instead of criminal powers. The power was introduced by section 1 of the Criminal Finances Act 2017. This Act has amended the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA).

An Unexplained Wealth Order can be obtained upon application by one of the following enforcement authorities : the National Crime Agency, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, the Financial Conduct Authority, the Director of the Serious Fraud Office and the Director of Public Prosecutions.

In order to apply to the court to order an Unexplained Wealth Order, the following conditions must be satisfied:

  • The respondent must hold the asset.
  • The value of that asset must be greater than £50,000.
  • There are reasonable grounds for suspecting the known source of the respondent’s lawfully obtained income would have been insufficient for the purposes of enabling the respondent to obtain the asset.
  • The respondent is a politically exposed person or there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that:
  • the respondent is, or has been involved in serious crime (in the UK or elsewhere)
  • a person connected with the respondent is, or has been, so involved.

See more on the gov.uk site here

Linda Eales – Vantage Fee Protect Tax Consultant

February 2018

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