The number of calls to the UK tax authority’s fraud hotline doubled last year, with more than 40,000 tip-offs from informants claiming they are aware of someone they know not paying their taxes.
Since the 2013/14 financial year, HM Revenue & Customs have paid more than £2.2 million to informants. This year the total was £343,500 a decline of 23 per cent on the previous year.
The number of calls increased due to the merging of two hotlines for tax evasion and customs fraud into a single number which has since been heavily promoted to the general public.
A spokesman for the tax office said rewards were based on what had been achieved as a direct result of the information provided, the amount of tax recovered, the estimate of the loss of revenue prevented and other measurable benefits such as the time saved in working compliance cases.
They added that although it paid some informants, it did not provide updates to individuals who reported tax evasion, nor would it identify the source of information obtained confidentially.
They also understood that whilst this could be frustrating for those who reported suspected tax cheats, it had to adhere to the government’s legislative obligations.
Last year HMRC secured more than £30.3 billion in tax through their work into errors, avoidance and evasion, with the information they receive from the public a key contributor to helping the authority to recoup that money.
HMRC have appealed to anyone who has any information about potential tax evasion, to search ‘report a fraud’ on Gov.uk to find the Hotline number, online form and postal address.