HMRC is ever keen to up the tax take and has, for a number of years, been running a "hotline" whereby people can secretly "grass" on people they believe to be evading tax.
However, those who are not concerned about anonymity and who want to make a nice little earner out of "grassing" on others can receive reward payments from HMRC for tips that lead to successful prosecutions and the recovery of evaded tax.
Exaro News recently raised a Freedom of Information Request with HMRC, and discovered that over £1M has been paid out by HMRC in rewards to informants and "bounty hunters" over the last 3 years.
As the financial crisis rumbles on, so the bounties paid out have increased. The payout in 2011/12 was £374K compared with £309K in the previous year.
In earlier years £384K was paid in 2009-10, £281K in 2008-09, and £156K in 2007-08.
In 2008, HMRC was reported to have paid £100,000 to a former Liechtenstein banker for a list of secret offshore accounts held by Britons (ie HMRC bought stolen property).
Oddly enough HMRC does not openly promote the bounty payments, indeed some HMRC officials even deny that rewards are paid!
In the event that there are any wannabe "Bob the Bounty Hunters" out there then you want to be paid for "grassing", then do ensure that you keep a record and that you make a specific request for payment.
However, don't hold your breath, the process of recovering evaded tax can take many years and payments are at HMRC's "discretion" (ie they can welch on the deal).
Despite this the amount of tax recovered via the hotline is not staggering, between 2005 and 2009 a paltry £42M was recovered.
HMRC, for reasons best known to themselves, won't say how much has been recovered since.
Like it or not, maybe HMRC and the state can't quite turn us into a nation of informers!
Tax does have to be taxing.
Professional Cover Against the Threat of Costly TAX and VAT Investigations
What is TAXWISE?
TAXWISE is a tax-fee protection service that will pay up to £75,000 towards your accountant's fees in the event of an HM Revenue & Customs full enquiry or dispute.
To find out more, please use this link Taxwise
Tax Investigation for Dummies, by Nick Morgan, provides a good and easy to read guide for anyone caught up in an HMRC tax investigation. A must read for any Self Assessment taxpayer.
Click the link to read about: Tax Investigation for Dummies
HMRC Is Shite (www.hmrcisshite.com), also available via the domain www.hmrconline.com, is brought to you by www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand"