HMRC’s anonymous tax evasion tip off telephone line, which enables members of the public, and businesses, to inform HMRC of suspected cases of evasion, received 72,000 calls over the past 12 months, according to a freedom of information request by Bloomsbury Professional, a legal and tax book publisher. That is nearly 200 a day.
The managing director of Bloomsbury Professional Martin Casimir explained that the high volume of calls coming to the HMRC’s dedicated whistleblower hotline is a reflection of the public’s perception of tax evasion
“The large number of tip-offs reflects increased anger about tax evasion. The sheer volume of calls to the hotline is astounding. People are clearly keen to ensure that no one cheats the tax system and that everybody pays their fair share,” he said.
“For many people, wages have flatlined in real terms over the past few years while at the same time the tax burden has increased. That makes them especially indignant and motivated to call the helpline if they suspect tax evasion.”
The research however does not reveal how many of the calls led to successful recovery of any unpaid taxes and despite the large number of tip-offs, the hotline is the least productive of the HMRC’s information gathering sources, raising only twice the money that it requires to operate.