Evasion hotline rings off the hook

A TAX EVASION HOTLINE established by HM Revenue & Customs received almost 300 calls each working day in 2011.

Statistics show the public’s response has been far greater than expected when it was set up in 2005. Approximately 74,000 calls were made to the service about alleged tax dodging last year. Despite the large response, the figure is about 9% down on the previous year.

In the past five years, there have been 412,111 alerts, reports the Financial Times.

Martin Casimir of Bloomsbury Professional, a publishing group which obtained the figures through a freedom of information request, said: “It’s a staggering volume of calls. With incomes for many having stagnated while the tax burden has risen, the feeling that everyone should pay their fair share has clearly resonated.”

Tax collected as a result of the hotline in 2006/07 was just £2.6m, far less than the original estimate of £32.5m, according to a 2008 National Audit Office report.

It found calls were mainly “ghosts” and “moonlighters” who owed relatively small sums.

The taxman said: “Clamping down on those who try to cheat the system is a key priority. We value the information we receive from the public through the tax evasion hotline and all information is analysed and a decision is made on the most appropriate course of action.”

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