Are accountants doing their bit?

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This from Accounting Evidence Limited (who I recommend):

The Serious Organised Crime Agency has recently published its annual report on the operation of the Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) regime. The report covers the year ended 30 September 2008.

There is an immense amount of detail in the report - rather too much to go into here - but one interesting feature is that there has been a slight fall in the number of SARs submitted to SOCA in the year from, in round figures, 220,000 to 210,000.

In line with that fall in total SARs submitted the number of SARs from accountants fell from 8,110 to 7,354. There was a sharp fall in the number of SARs from solicitors from 11,300 to 6,460.

Over 5,700 organisations submitted one or more SARs to SOCA in the year, but the top 20 of those organisations accounted for approximately two-thirds of all the SARs submitted. Not surprisingly, the majority of SARs submitted came from the banking sector.

Remember, it is very hard for an accountant to find that their client has committed deliberate tax evasion and not report it to SOCA. In the circumstances the number of reports seems remarkably small. I think tax evasion somewhat more prevalent amongst the clients of the U.K.'s accounting firms than the number of reports might indicate.