HMRC- Warning of Self Assessment tricksters.
HMRC warns customers completing their 2020 to 2021 tax return to be on their guard.
As HM Revenue and Customs prepares to issue emails and SMS to Self Assessment customers, the department is reminding them to be on their guard after nearly 800,000 tax related scams were reported in the last year.
Fraudsters use Self Assessment to try and steal money or personal information from unsuspecting individuals. In the last year alone, HMRC has received nearly 360,000 bogus tax rebate referrals.
The Self Assessment deadline is 31 January 2022 and customers may expect to hear from HMRC at this time of year. More than 4 million emails and SMS will be issued this week 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 31 January.
However, the department is also warning customers to not be taking in by malicious emails, phone calls or texts, thinking that these are genuine HMRC communications referring to their self assessment tax return.
HMRC's Director General for Customer Services said:
Scams come in many forms. Some threaten immediate arrest for tax evasion, others offer a tax rebate. Contacts like these should set alarm bells ringing, so if you are in any doubt whether the email, phone call or text is genuine, you can check the 'HMRC scams' advice on GOV.UK and find out how to report them to us.
Criminals use emails, phone calls and text messages to try and dupe individuals, and often mimic government messages to make them appear authentic. They want to trick their victims into handing over money or personal or financial information.
The Self Assessment deadline for 2020 to 2021 tax returns is 31 January 2022.
In the last 12 months HMRC has:
- responded to 797,010 referrals of suspicious contact from the public - some 357,567 of these offered bogus tax rebates.
- worked with the telecoms industry and Ofcom to remove more than 1,282 phone numbers being used to commit HMRC-related phone scams
- received 327,044 reports of phone scams in total, 21% up on the previous year
- reported 8,561 malicious web pages for takedown.
HM Revenue & Customs, 2021. HMRC warns customers about Self Assessment tricksters. London: GOV.UK, p.1.