Firms who fail to prevent tax evasion 'to face stiff fines'

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander. Credit: BBC/The Andrew Marr Show

Firms which fail to prevent tax evasion would be subject to stiff fines under a proposed new crackdown, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury has said.

Danny Alexander suggested a new offence of "corporate failure to avoid preventing an economic crime" could become law.

Under the proposals, organisations who encourage tax evasion would face the same fines as the evaders themselves.

It comes after allegations HSBC was involved in a tax avoidance scandal.

Speaking on The Andrew Marr Show, Mr Alexander said: "Organisations, be they accountants, banks or whatever, who help people evade tax will be liable for this new offence and crucially liable for financial penalties.

"So, for example, if their customers have to pay back hundreds of millions of pounds in tax, then those organisations should have to match that."