HMRC warns on scams ahead of self assessment deadline
Over the last 12 months, the HMRC has received nearly 900,000 reports from the public about suspicious HMRC contact – phone calls, texts or emails.
HM Revenue and Customs is warning millions of self assessment customers to be aware of fraudsters in the run up to the 31 January deadline.
More than 100,000 reports received by HMRC from the public over the past year were phone scams, while over 620,000 reports from the public were about bogus tax rebates.
Some of the most common techniques fraudsters use include phoning taxpayers offering a fake tax refund, or pretending to be HMRC by texting or emailing a link that will take customers to a false page, where their bank details and money will be stolen. Fraudsters are also known to threaten victims with arrest or imprisonment if a bogus tax bill is not paid immediately.
While HMRC operates a dedicated customer protection team to identify and close down scams, it is advising customers to recognise the signs to avoid becoming victims themselves.
It explained that genuine organisations like HMRC and banks will never contact customers asking for their PIN, password or bank details. Customers are also advised to never give out private information, reply to text messages, download attachments or click on links in texts or emails that they are not expecting.
The tax authority also reminded that while tax is automatically deducted from most UK taxpayers’ wages, pensions or savings, where tax is not automatically deducted, or when people or businesses have earned additional untaxed income, they are required to complete a self assessment tax return each year.
People need to complete a tax return if they earned more than £2,500 from renting out property; their partner received child benefit and either of them had an annual income of more than £50,000; received more than £2,500 in other untaxed income; are self-employed sole traders; are employees claiming expenses in excess of £2,500; have an annual income over £100,000; and, earned income from abroad that they need to pay tax on.