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Posted on: 7th January 2020

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A New Year and new warning about HMRC self-assessment scams

WITH the New Year comes a clean slate, business goals, resolutions and of course – filling in those self-assessment forms.

The January 31st deadline is approaching fast, and in the run up, HM Revenue and Customs is warning millions of self-assessment customers to be aware of fraudsters.

Worryingly, over the last year, HMRC received nearly 900,000 reports from the public about suspicious HMRC contact either through phone calls, texts or emails.

More than 100,000 of these were phone scams, while over 620,000 reports from the public were about bogus tax rebates.

Fraudsters use a range of techniques to scam cash from hard working individuals, with some of the most common including phoning taxpayers offering a fake tax refund, or pretending to be HMRC by texting or emailing a link which 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.

However, help is at hand. HMRC operates a dedicated Customer Protection team to identify and close down scams but is advising customers to recognise the signs to avoid becoming victims themselves.

It is worth remembering that genuine organisations like HMRC and banks will never contact customers asking for their PIN, password or bank details.

Customers should NEVER give out private information, reply to text messages, download attachments or click on links in texts or emails which they are not expecting.

Customers are urged to take action by forwarding details of suspicious calls or emails claiming to be from HMRC to phishing@hmrc.gov.uk and texts to 60599. Please include the date of the call, phone number used and the content of the call. 

Customers who have suffered financial loss should contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040, or use their online fraud reporting tool.

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, for example from tips or commission
  • Are self-employed sole traders
  • Are employees claiming expenses in excess of £2,500
  • Have an annual income over £100,000
  • Earned income from abroad that they need to pay tax on

Further information can be found at https://www.gov.uk/check-if-you-need-tax-return

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