HMRC paid a record amount to tax informants in the year ending 31 March, City law firm RPC said today.
The state tax collector paid out £605,000, up 50 per cent on the previous year. Experts suggest it is because of increased awareness of the rewards available for information. “HMRC does not widely publicise the payments it makes to informants.
If too many people know that they can get paid for information supplied to HMRC they may be less willing to provide information for free,” said Adam Craggs, tax partner at RPC.
"The sharp rise in payments is likely to be due to greater public awareness of HMRC’s pursuit of tax evaders. However, many members of the public have an unrealistic view of the value of their information.”
There is no going rate for informants in the UK. In the US, there is a clearly stated policy of paying whistleblowers up to 30 per cent of any additional tax, penalty and other amounts the IRS collects.
“The majority of people who provide information to us do so without any expectation of a financial reward. Cash rewards are discretionary and based on what is brought in as a direct result of the information provided,” an HMRC spokesperson told City A.M.