Part 6 of the Proceeds of Crime Act (2002) relates to Revenue Functions. The purpose of this act is to permit the confiscation of any financial or material gain from the committing of a crime, and as tax evasion falls under the banner of a criminal offence, this could be a consequence for anybody accused of failing to declare their income or expenditure appropriately.
Invoking Part 6 of the Proceeds of Crime Act could lead to finances and assets being confiscated, as houses, vehicles or anything else purchased during the period of investigation could be considered a proceed of illegal activity. If the proceeds of the offence are comparatively small, up to £1,000 can also be seized on the spot, which could potentially avoid of any further prosecution and the necessity of a court date. However, in the event of an investigation by HMRC, leaving the country will not help – permissions can be sought to freeze, or even sell, assets while the individual is overseas.
Confiscation orders will not be invoked as the first course of action. Part 6 of the Proceeds of Crime Act dictates that it can only be invoked in the following circumstances:
The defendant pleaded guilty or was convicted at the Crown Court.
The defendant was committed to the Crown Court under Sections 3, 4 or 6 of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000.
The defendant was committed to the Crown Court with a view to a confiscation order being considered, under Section 70 POCA 2002.
If any of the above is applicable, it must then be confirmed exactly when and where the crime or offence happened. If the criminal charge dates back to prior to 2003, different laws apply. Finally, a Judge will attest to whether the individual under investigation has been a beneficiary illegal activity (such as earning unwarranted sums of money through tax evasion), and if so, how much of this funding warrants being repayment through seizure and confiscation.