HMRC offering £2,000 carrot to spur on inspectors

HM Revenue &
is incentivising its workers with a lucrative reward scheme worth up
to £2,000 to help them meet targets. The move comes in the wake of the
department’s tax compliance teams trying to meet an objective of an extra £11bn
of outstanding levies to be recouped by 2008, as required by its Public Service

Workers, including those in its inspection arm rated as top performers could
be entitled to a bonus of 3% of salary, while staff awarded a good performance
rating are eligible for a 1.8% bonus of salary,
The Times reported.

An HMRC spokesperson responded by describing the story as a ‘distortion of
what’s happening. You don’t receive bonuses purely on the basis of squeezing out
more cash. Inspectors have to meet a whole range of criteria related to the
standard of the work performed before being rewarded.’

The system has been rolled out to encourage the maximum performance from
staff in meeting their targets, but the move will subject taxpayers to a larger
number of probes as inspectors try to acheive their objectives, a tax expert

‘It is perfectly right and proper for HMRC to recover monies that they are
due, Matt Coward, senior tax adviser at
Blick Rothenberg
told The Times. ‘However, if this bonus system means a correlation
between between taxes collected and bonuses paid, resulting in over-zealous and
unreasonable inquiries, then taxpayers should be extremely concerned.’

Further reading:

HMRC set to increase tax return penalties

Taxman ratchets up disclosure regime

Almost half of UK tax law targets avoidance

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