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Help HM Revenue & Customs stop customs and excise fraud and tax evasion

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) needs information to help fight customs and excise fraud and tax evasion.

This guide explains how you can help HMRC by either telling them about your suspicions, or give information that will help stop people committing fraud, bringing goods into the UK that they shouldn't or deliberately not paying tax.

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Keeping anonymous and staying safe

When you contact HMRC about customs and excise fraud or tax evasion, you don't need to give them any information about yourself unless you want to. You can keep your identity anonymous. However, letting HMRC have your details does mean they can make better, and safe, use of the information you give them.

You shouldn't go looking for more information about the fraud or evasion you're reporting. It's best not to tell anyone that you are passing on information. You should never encourage anyone to do something wrong so you can give HMRC more information.

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What happens to information you give HMRC

Once you've given HMRC information about customs or excise fraud or tax evasion they will look at it and work out how to make the best use of it. This may take some time, and HMRC may need to find out more information, so it might appear that nothing is happening.

If HMRC thinks your information will be useful to other government departments and agencies, including the police and UK Border Agency (UKBA), they might pass it on - but they will never pass on your details.

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What are customs and excise fraud?

Customs and excise fraud happens when the rules about what you can and can't bring into the UK are broken. In some cases, there is duty or tax to pay on things brought into the UK. If you think someone is bringing something they shouldn't into the UK, or they are bringing goods in and not paying duty or tax on them then they may be breaking the rules.

The types of things people bring into the UK illegally, or deliberately don't pay duty or tax on, include:

  • cigarettes and tobacco
  • alcohol
  • cash
  • hydrocarbon oils
  • drugs
  • guns and explosives
  • military equipment
  • weapons of mass destruction or the parts used to make them
  • obscene or indecent material - including child pornography
  • meat and other types of food
  • endangered and protected species including animals, birds, fish, reptiles, plants, coral and items made from them
  • expensive goods like works of art, antiques, gold and jewellery
  • counterfeit, or fake, goods
  • dangerous substances, like poisons
  • money products like shares and securities

You can also tell the hotline about these tax frauds:

  • Value Added Tax (VAT)
  • Environmental taxes - Landfill Tax, Aggregates Levy and Climate Change Levy
  • Transport taxes - hydrocarbon oils and Air Passenger Duty
  • Betting and gaming duty
  • Excise duties - including the illegal use of rebated 'red' diesel
  • Insurance Premium Tax (IPT)
  • Suspicious transactions or activities that may be to do with money laundering

Reporting customs or excise fraud

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What is tax evasion?

Tax evasion happens when people deliberately don’t pay the tax they should. Tax evasion is a crime and everyone loses out because of it. HMRC is committed to tackling tax evasion, and much of this work relies on information provided by the public. People who moonlight or do jobs for cash in hand are often avoiding paying tax.

The taxes people try to avoid paying include:

  • Income Tax
  • National Insurance contributions
  • Corporation Tax
  • Capital Gains Tax
  • Inheritance Tax
  • PAYE

Reporting tax evasion

If you're unsure if your concerns relate to tax evasion or Customs and Excise fraud, please use whichever method of contact you feel is best, your information will be passed to the right people.

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Before you contact HMRC

It would be useful to have the following information to hand before you contact HMRC:

  • what type of fraud or tax evasion is taking place, if you know
  • when it's happening
  • where it's happening
  • how long it's been going on for
  • the names of people or businesses involved
  • details of any vehicles including registration numbers, make, model and colour

Don't worry if you can't provide all of this information, HMRC would rather have some information than none at all.

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More useful links

Reporting benefit fraud (Opens new window)

If you have concerns about immigration crime, you can contact UKBA (Opens new window)

If you're concerned and want to report a crime, you can contact Crimestoppers (Opens new window)

For information about helping stop the illegal trade of endangered species see the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) site (Opens new window)

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