The amount HMRC pays for information on tax evaders rose to £473,000 in 2019/20, up from £290,250 the previous year, according to research by law firm RPC.
Adam Craggs, head of tax at RPC, said: “HMRC receives a large number of tip-offs to its hotline in relation to small-scale tax evasion, but it has come under pressure in recent years to investigate ‘big ticket’ tax evasion and it is willing to pay informants who have reliable information relating to such fraud.”
HMRC is likely to pay significant sums for high-quality information about the abuse of the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), he said.
Michelle Sloane, partner at RPC, commented: “While many whistle-blowers are simply doing what they consider to be their civic duty, some have other motivations, for example, a disgruntled employee who has fallen out with their employer. The payment to informants for data that has been taken illicitly raises certain ethical issues for HMRC.
“Disgruntled employees may tip-off HMRC as a way of getting back at their employer. HMRC needs to ensure that it carries out appropriate due diligence to ensure the information it receives is credible,” Sloane said.