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Would you whistle blow on Furlough Fraud?

Author: Naomi Cowan

Tags: fraud, hmrc

Whistle blowers are a valuable source for potential cases of tax evasion and fraud for HMRC.

There is a general understanding that people are becoming less tolerant of those they believe are not playing by the same rules as the rest of us and paying their share of tax. They are more willing than ever to report them. The numbers have been increasing over the past decade as post-recession austerity has put financial pressure on individuals and businesses.

Over 70,000 reports were made to HMRC last year, up 10% from the year before, showing that that the general public do not view tax evasion as acceptable behaviour.

Numbers for the coming year are expected to increase with the addition of furlough scheme fraud, with over 4500 reports already made where employees believe their employer to be using the scheme incorrectly. Civil servants have told MPs that its working assumption is that 5-10% of furlough claims have been paid out in error or because of fraud. In this case, it is likely that HMRC will not be seeking to root out employers who have made legitimate mistakes, but will concentrate on tackling abuse and fraud, with businesses expected to repay any excess payments.

With many changes to tax obligations happening all the time due to Covid-19 and Brexit, AIMS accountants will ensure their clients are kept fully informed of their responsibilities – we focus on the numbers so you can focus on doing what you do best, running your business.