Research by law firm, Pinsent Masons, has found that more than 150 chief financial officers and other senior finance executives have been fined personally by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) in relation to tax accounting issues during the last financial year.
This is an increase of 22 per cent on the previous year when 125 were fined and around three times more than the 46 fined in 2012-13 when the first fines were issued.
The fines were issued under the Senior Accounting Officer (SAO) regime that allows the Revenue to levy fines of as much as £5,000 to a qualifying company’s most senior accounting officer if they do not properly “account for their business’ income and expenditure”.
Jason Collins, a tax disputes expert at Pinsent Masons, said: “HMRC is on a mission to hold the most executives that they can to account and ‘C-suites’ should take the high number of fines issued last year as a warning.
“These fines are being used as a stick to ensure finance directors do not allow systemic tax accounting failures to arise. Considering the pace of actions by HMRC against CFOs and finance directors, businesses may need to invest more money in controls in this area.”