HMRC Self-Assessment Scams

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is warning all self-employed people to be “on their guard” in the run-up to the Self-Assessment deadline on 31st January 2022.  Nearly 800,000 tax-related scams were reported in the last year as fraudsters trick people with fake emails or text messages.

HMRC sent more than 4 million emails and text messages in early December to Self-Assessment customers pointing them to guidance and support, prompting them to think about how they intend to pay their tax bill and to seek support if they are unable to pay in full by the January deadline.  However, they warn customers not to be taken in by malicious emails, phone calls or texts thinking they are genuine communications from the HMRC.

HMRC has a dedicated team that works on cyber and phone crimes.  By using innovative technologies to stop misleading and malicious communications they have prevented 500 million emails from ever reaching the customer.  Their new controls have prevented 90% of the most convincing text messages from reaching the public and have set up spoofing controls for most of the HMRC helpline numbers.

They are reminding customers to double-check websites and online forms before completing them to make sure they are genuine.  Quite often the fraudsters have set up misleading websites that are designed to make the customer pay for help in submitting tax returns or charging to connect them to HMRC phone lines.

If you are in any doubt about whether a website is genuine you should visit www.gov.uk for more information about Self-Assessment and use the free signposted tax return forms.