Research and analysis

Motivators and incentives for voluntary disclosure

A qualitative investigation into the behavioural drivers of, and barriers to, making a voluntary disclosure of unpaid tax among UK taxpayers.


Understanding the motivators and incentives for voluntary disclosure

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As part of its work to reduce the tax gap, HMRC runs several disclosure campaigns each year that give targeted taxpayers (‘customers’) the opportunity to voluntarily disclose any outstanding tax debt for a reduced penalty rate.

While there is a good understanding of the impact and efficacy of voluntary disclosure opportunities, the department wants to have a better understanding of the behavioural triggers that motivate taxpayers to take part in voluntary disclosure opportunities in the first place.

This research aimed to increase our understanding of the behavioural drivers of voluntary disclosure by exploring:

  • the reasons why customers made voluntary disclosures, and how this relates to the reason why they have not paid the correct amount of tax
  • the reasons why customers chose not to make voluntary disclosures when they were eligible to do so
  • how effective different communications about voluntary disclosure were in promoting take up among different customer groups
  • how customers experienced the process of making a voluntary disclosure, once they had decided to do so
Published 8 September 2015