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Posted on: 9th January 2023

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Don’t fall foul of the self-assessment scammers

For many, the start of new year often means tackling that job that has been pushed to the back of the to-do list – filling out their Self Assessment form!

But as we approach the January deadline, the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is urging Self Assessment customers to be on their guard against fraudsters and scams that ask for their personal information or bank details.

The warning come as many customers start to think about their annual tax returns for the 2021 to 2022 tax year and follows startling statistics surrounding reported scams in the 12 months to August 2022.

During this time, HMRC

  • responded to 181,296 referrals of suspicious contact from the public - some 80,662 of these offered bogus tax rebates
  • responded to 55,386 reports of phone scams
  • reported 10,565 malicious web pages to be taken down
  • worked with the telecoms industry and Ofcom to remove 48 phone numbers being used to commit HMRC-related phone scams

Criminals claiming to be from HMRC have targeted individuals by email, text and phone with their communications ranging from offering bogus tax rebates to threatening arrest for tax evasion. Contacts like these should sound alarm bells – HMRC would never call with threats of arrest.

Here is some advice from HMRC for customers:

  • If someone contacts you saying they’re from HMRC, wanting you to urgently transfer money or give personal information, be on your guard.
  • Tax scams come in many forms. Some threaten immediate arrest for tax evasion, others offer a rebate. Contacts like these should set alarm bells ringing, so take your time and check ‘HMRC scams advice’ on GOV.UK.
  • Fraudsters target customers when they know they are more likely to be in contact with HMRC, which is why Self Assessment customers should be extra vigilant to this activity and be aware of suspicious texts, emails or calls offering a refund or demanding unpaid tax.
  • The deadline for filing paper tax returns for the 2021 to 2022 tax year is 31 October 2022, and 31 January 2023 for those filing their tax return online. Customers who file their return online via GOV.UK should not share their HMRC login details. 

Anyone contacted by someone claiming to be from HMRC in a way that arouses suspicion is advised to take their time and check the scams advice on GOV.UK.

Customers can report any suspicious texts claiming to be from HMRC to 60599 and emails to phishing@hmrc.gov.uk.

Any tax scam phone calls can be reported to HMRC using the online form on GOV.UK. Or telephone Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. 

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