• Almost 90,000 calls received in the last year
• Average 350 calls per day
HMRC’s tax evasion hotline received almost 90,000 calls in the last year*, an increase of 24% from the previous year, according to Bloomsbury Professional, a leading tax and accounting information group.
Bloomsbury Professional says that HMRC handles an average 350 calls to the tax evasion hotline per day.
The Tax Evasion Hotline allows members of the public to inform HMRC of suspected cases of tax evasion. They can report this via either the telephone or online.
The high number of calls demonstrates the public’s growing concern over tax evasion, says Bloomsbury Professional.
Martin Casimir, Managing Director of Bloomsbury Professional, comments:
“The number of calls the hotline is receiving is astonishing. It’s clear that people are very keen to ensure that no one cheats the tax system and everybody pays their fair share.”
Bloomsbury Professional points out that the extremely high volume of calls does not necessarily mean that large amounts of tax will be recouped through investigations.
Martin Casimir explains, “People are now more aware of tax irregularities but this awareness can lead to an over-zealous approach to reporting suspected tax evasion. This is likely to have led to the big jump in the volume of calls the hotline receives.
“Given HMRC’s restricted budget, there is a question over whether it has sufficient resources to properly investigate the 350 calls a day that it receives.”
Bloomsbury Professional says that as well as being unable to deal with the extremely high number of calls, many of the calls that HMRC receives reveal only small amounts of tax evasion.
“HMRC should be concerned about the low number of calls that actually reveal any notable tax evasion,” says Martin Casimir.
“It’s a rarity that calls to HMRC reveal a large-scale tax evasion. For example, many of the calls relate to tradesmen asking to be paid in cash. In this case the loss of tax for HMRC is rather small.
“Investigating tax evasion cases can be costly. The Revenue has to weigh up the value of the potential tax reclaimed versus the cost of actually pursuing the claim. It is also worth remembering individuals or businesses that are found not to owe any additional tax are usually not entitled to compensation so fighting tax claims can prove extremely costly.”
*Year end March 31 2014