A recent Freedom of Information Disclosure has revealed that payments made by HMRC to informants are on the increase. £323,780 was paid out in the tax year 2011/12 compared with just £155,950 in the tax year 2007/08. In total over £1m has been paid in the last three financial years.
Section 26 of the Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act 2005 gives authority for these payments. The actual wording of the section is:
“The Commissioners may pay a reward to a person in return for a service which relates to a function of – (a) the Commissioners, or (b) an officer of Revenue and Customs.”
The most interesting word in the section is “may”.
HMRC have clarified this point on their website:
“You may receive a cash reward for your information. However, this will depend on what is achieved as a direct result of the information you provide and is awarded at the discretion of HM Revenue & Customs.”
No doubt we will see increases in this type of payment as the current wave of unrest regarding individuals and organisations that do not pay their fair share of tax, gather pace. If you know someone who wants to bring their affairs up to date before it’s too late, why not suggest they contact us for help?