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HMRC reviews more phone & internet records in light of furlough fraud

11-01-2021

HMRC increased its requests to communications data like phone records and web browsing histories to aid its criminal investigations over 2020. Inquiries picked up as a result of increased concerns over furlough fraud, says RPC, which explained: "HMRC could examine the phone records of an employer to determine whether or not they have been making phone calls to an employee during the period when they were supposedly on furlough. A high number of calls might indicate the employee was actually working and the furlough claims were fraudulent.” Adam Craggs, a Partner and Head of Tax at RPC, commented: “As HMRC shifts its focus to furlough fraud, phone and web browsing data is likely to be a hugely valuable source in identifying those who may be defrauding the public purse.” However, he added: “HMRC must not misuse its investigatory powers and ensure that only lawful, necessary and proportionate applications for communications data are made to the OCDA.”

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