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Taxing the Proceeds of Crime

Journal of Financial Crime

ISSN: 1359-0790

Article publication date: 1 April 2000



Organised crime groups, in particular drug traffickers, generate considerable amounts of money from their criminal activities. Over the last two decades jurisdictions around the world have therefore put in place confiscation and forfeiture legislation designed to remove such criminal gains. The Performance and Innovation Unit of the Cabinet Office, in its report entitled ‘Recovering the Proceeds of Crime’, has now recommended that a national confiscation agency (NCA) for England and Wales be established, the functions of which will include the institution of civil forfeiture proceedings and the application of the taxation legislation to the proceeds of criminal activity. If enacted, this will essentially provide a threefold strategy designed to remove criminal gains. First, where the evidence permits, the individual may be prosecuted for criminal offences and, upon conviction, a confiscation order may be sought against him. Secondly, if the evidence is not sufficient for criminal prosecution, the individual may have civil forfeiture proceedings instituted against him to deprive him of the illgotten gains, seeking to prove on the balance of probabilities that the property in his possession is, directly or indirectly, the proceeds of crime. Thirdly, if an individual can be shown to have received income during a particular period which the authorities suspect, but have insufficient evidence to prove, is the proceeds of crime, then they may apply the tax legislation to that income and raise a tax assessment against him.


Bell, R.E. (2000), "Taxing the Proceeds of Crime", Journal of Financial Crime, Vol. 8 No. 2, pp. 136-144.




Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

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