HMRC’s fraud hotline received more than 91,000 calls during the first nine months of the Covid-19 pandemic, with concerns that furlough fraud is likely to be behind many of the calls.

Between April and December 2020, HMRC averaged around 10,000 calls per month, higher than the monthly average of 9,000 the year before.

Other calls were apparently in relation to possible claims of abuse of the government’s ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme, with some restaurants being accused of faking excess orders to claim greater amounts from the government’s scheme.

HMRC is adding significant resource in order to investigate as many of the fraud allegations that have been made as possible though many made during  the covid-19 pandemic are likely to be false. This could leave many businesses facing a lengthy period under investigation despite committing no wrongdoing.

Before the pandemic many of the calls to tax fraud hotlines run by HMRC have involved an element of mischief making for  example fraud reports made by warring neighbours or former ‘romantic’ partners.

Any sort of HMRC enquiry or investigation can be stressful let of those coming about after months of lockdown restrictions which have put many businesses under huge pressure. HMRC investigations can be costly, time-consuming and can cause enormous stress for the business owner and staff involved.

With the covid-19 crisis leading to huge levels of public spending to support the economy, HMRC may now look to increase the pressure on those under investigation in order to recoup as much revenue as possible. This may mean more intensive investigations and tougher penalties being handed out in the coming months.

The team at Bedrock are experienced in managing HMRC enquiries and investigations for businesses and accountants. Get in touch if you’re subject to scrutiny by HMRC as we may be able to help. Read more on our website.


Call us on 0115 778 8533 for a free consultation.