Taxman pays 41,000 people to be HMRC informers

It may have upset a lobbyist, but HMRC’s plugging of at least one of its phonelines has got through to more than 40,000 people -- all of whom have called time on suspected tax cheats.

In fact in the last year alone, a reported 40,695 individuals picked up the phone to the Revenue to inform on people potentially evading their tax liabilities, new figures show.

That represents more than a doubling on the number of HMRC informants in 2016/17, the Daily Telegraph reported, and excludes those who ‘shopped’ the cheats online or by post.

In return for their details, HMRC paid the evasion callers a total of £343,500, with individual payments historically depending on the ‘value of the tip-off and the quality of the result.’

Outlined in 2011, the criteria points to callers to the whistleblowing hotline often being the aggrieved spouse, disgruntled ex-colleague or forced-out business partner of the ‘cheat.’

Similar to an adjoining HMRC service for telling on ‘cash in hand’ payers/receivers, such informants are warned “don’t try to find out more” about the evasion.

They are also advised to keep quiet about tipping off the taxman – “for your own safety.” However, that’s not to suggest that the Revenue does not want them to come forward.

“Information provided by the public is a crucial element of HMRC’s work to close the tax gap,” said HMRC’s Jennie Granger, relaunching the evasion hotline last year.

“It’s vital that the reporting process is as simple and accessible as possible. We encourage the public to continue to work with us and report any suspected fraud or evasion to us for investigation.”

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Written by Simon Moore

Simon writes impartial news and engaging features for the contractor industry, covering, IR35, the loan charge and general tax and legislation.
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