HMRC reported a 63% increase in payments to whistleblowers for reporting tax evasion in the 2019/2020 tax year, paying £473,000 to informants during the period.
In the previous tax year HMRC paid £290,250 to informants – around £182,000 less than in 2019/20.
The figures were published in HMRC’s annual reports and accounts 2019 to 2020. According to auditor BDO, the increase in payments to whistleblowers suggest more people are snitching on those committing tax evasion.
BDO partner in tax dispute and resolution Dominic Arnold said: “In the past HMRC has said that the majority of people coming forward to provide information do so without expectation of financial reward. However, many believe that a more formal and transparent US style system might incentivise a greater people to come forward and report tax evasion.”
HMRC does not report specifically on the additional taxes collected from whistleblower payments. In its reports, HMRC said a range of factors determine the exact amount whistleblowers are awarded, such as the tax recovered, how much estimated revenue loss was prevented and other benefits, such as time saved in working cases.
By contrast the US taxman in 2019 paid over $120million to whistleblowers, at an average of $664,000 per award, while collecting more than $660million of additional taxes. Under the US model, awards of between 15 per cent and 30 per cent of the tax collected can be made.