GRASSING in your tax-dodging spouse or boss to HM Revenue & Customs could fetch you up to £250,000, the public spending watchdog has revealed.
The revenue authorities have handed over more than £2.2million of taxpayers’ money in exchange for tip-offs over the past five years – but failed to document this in any of their annual accounts.
PA:Press Association HMRC pay up to £250k for a ‘motherlode’ of information
Have you given HMRC a tip-off for a cash reward, or did someone offer information about you? Get in touch by emailing email@example.com or call 0208 7782 430
A former employee told the Times that the scheme was “totally lacking in transparency” and could be abused by individuals engaged in vendettas.
Many rewards had been made to bitter former spouses, business partners and employees.
Details were revealed by Sir Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office.
Sir Amyas explained HMRC’s risk and intelligence service, run by officers with powers to examine avoidance, evasion and fraud, funds these payments.
Adam Craggs, a partner at the law firm Reynolds Porter Chamberlain, worked at HMRC for 16 years.
He said that colleagues in the risk and intelligence service told him many of the people seeking payment were involved in personal relationships with those were dobbing in.
You would get a disillusioned spouse who said that they were upset with their husband and would give details to HMRC. They knew where the bodies were buried, as it wereFormer HMRC worker Adam Craggs
“You would get a disillusioned spouse who said that they were upset with their husband and would give details to HMRC,” he told The Times.
“They knew where the bodies were buried, as it were.”
HMRC says those giving tip-offs will only be rewarded if their information is “exceptionally helpful” to an investigation, and that most handouts are for less than £5,000.
A source at HMRC said that a tipster would only get £250,000 if they provided “mother-lode material”, adding: “It would have to be enough to close down a company, or something.”
A department spokesperson said the “vast majority” of people who alert the department to potential tax cheats do so “without any expectation of any financial reward”.
Sir Amyas revealed the information after a query from Chris Heaton-Harris, MP for Daventry, who asked where the payments came from.
He said the awards are made under the Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act 2005 and are not reported as they’re not deemed to be a “key performance metric”.
The HMRC spokesperson said it valued information passed on by the public and businesses.
“Clamping down on those who try to cheat the system through evading taxes and over claiming benefits is a key priority for us and we are committed to ensuring the tax system operates fairly and efficiently,” they added.
“All the information we receive is assessed and a decision made on the most appropriate course of action.”
We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online news team? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0207 782 4368 . You can WhatsApp us on 07810 791 502. We pay for videos too. Click here to upload yours.