Understanding Evasion

We are carrying out research on tax evasion among small businesses

We are carrying out research on tax evasion among small businesses. This research will help HMRC understand how small businesses who have engaged in evasion behaviour perceive evasion and identify some of the key reasons for engaging in evasion behaviour.

About the study

Tax evasion is the failure to pay tax which is due. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has commissioned the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen), an independent research organisation, to conduct research on tax evasion among small businesses. 

The research will help HMRC understand how small businesses perceive evasion, the key reasons and drivers for engaging in evasion behaviour and explore what support could be put in place to prevent evasion.

What will it involve?

Taking part will involve an interview with a NatCen researcher at a time convenient for you in September – January 2023. The interview will last up to 45 minutes. The interview will take place either by telephone or video call (MS teams), whichever you prefer.
During the discussion you will be asked to share your views on the following topics:

  • Your role and responsibilities, description of the business you work for and overview of how you manage your finances and taxes.
  • Your general attitudes towards tax evasion and views of why small businesses evade.
  • Details of your business’s prior tax evasion, including circumstances and reasons for engaging.
  • Suggestions for what could have prevented your business’s evasion and support that could be offered to prevent it happening again.

Everything you say will be confidential and anonymous. Only NatCen will know you have taken part. We will not tell HMRC or anyone else what you have personally said, this includes anything you tell us about tax compliance or evasion.

At the start of the interview we will ask your permission to audio record the discussion so we have an accurate record of what was said. We will store your information securely and your details will not be shared with anyone else outside the research team or with HMRC. 

Reports and publications will not identify any individuals. 

For more information on how your data will be used, visit the privacy noticeTaking part in an interview will not affect your relationship with HMRC in any way

Why take part?

Your feedback is important. Your participation will help HMRC develop a better understanding of the key reasons behind tax evasion among small businesses and what could be put in place to mitigate this behaviour.

You do not have to take part if you do not want to, and you can change your mind at any time. Whether you decide to participate or not will have no impact on your relationship with HMRC. If you do choose to take part, you do not have to answer any questions you do not want to, and you can stop the interview at any point.

As a thank you, you can choose a charity from three options to which we will donate £80 on your behalf. 

Why have I been selected to take part? 

You have been invited to take part in an interview with NatCen because your small business/the small business you work for was found by HMRC to have engaged in tax evasion in the last 5 years and your case is now closed with HMRC.

Who is carrying out the research?

The National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) will be carrying out the research. The research is being carried out for the HMRC. 

Contact us

If you have any further questions or would like to discuss the research, please contact us using the details below.

Email: understandingevasionresearch@natcen.ac.uk or william.bushell@HMRC.gov.uk