Whistleblower reports to HMRC have surged by 47% in the last year, according to research from law firm RPC. The number of reports rose from 106,920 in 2021/22 to 157,270 in 2022/23. Adam Craggs, head of RPC’s tax disputes, financial crime and regulatory team, said a large part of the spike in reports could be linked to fraud involving the government’s pandemic support. Data from the Department for Business and Trade shows that lenders responsible for distributing government-backed loans during the pandemic had flagged almost £1.7bn worth of potential loan fraud at the end of June, up 43% from three months earlier. Craggs notes that the furlough scheme “was a magnet for fraudsters with significant sums lost in the public purse,” adding that the public “is understandably outraged by that, and this sense of outrage may be a driver in this large increase in reports of suspected fraud to HMRC.” RPC partner Michelle Sloane says that while HMRC currently pays whistleblowers on an ad hoc basis, standardising payments could encourage more whistleblowers to come forward, saying: “Paying informants is likely to increase the number of investigations, and will improve the quality of information HMRC receives.”
Our HR comment / advice – Whistle-blower reports to HMRC surge by 47% | Consensus HR | Herts, Beds
Matthew P Chilcott, FCIPD, ACEL, Owner of Consensus HR comments: “The Pandemic and Furlough is still hot in the news and in this article in the Daily Mail rightfully so! This brings back memories of working during the Pandemic and witnessing the many problems it caused for businesses and our clients with their teams and businesses with loss of sales and near closure. The Furlough scheme continually changed throughout, and we were writing updates consistently to ensure our clients were fully updated on the current law and how they could rightfully obtain monies from the Governments Furlough Scheme legally whilst also ensuring this was implemented to HR best practice and the law. We can only imagine the amount of fraud that took place but hope that reasonable investigations will take place so as to ensure any business that did not have the intent to fraud the Government is not penalised.”
YOUR OUTSOURCED HUMAN RESOURCES DEPARTMENT.
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