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Self-Assessment taxpayers targeted by scammers, warns HMRC

Self-Assessment taxpayers need to keep a lookout for scammers posing as the tax authority, according to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

Scammers are using sophisticated calls, emails and texts to contact individuals in the run-up to the tax return deadline on 31 January 2021.

HMRC said it responded to more than 846,000 reports of suspicious HMRC contact from the public in the last year and uncovered 15,500 malicious webpages.

In many cases, fraudsters offer a fake ‘tax rebate’ or ‘tax refund’ to individuals, often using language and content designed to convince taxpayers to hand over personal information, including bank details, to claim the ‘refund’. Almost 500,000 of the referrals from the public offered bogus tax rebates.

The imposters use this information to access a person’s bank account, trick them into paying fictitious tax bills or sell on their personal information to other criminals, HMRC has warned.

Taxpayers are encouraged to report suspicious activity to HMRC at phishing@hmrc.gov.uk and texts to 60599. They can also report phone scams online on GOV.UK.

Alongside its warning, HMRC has said that taxpayers can usually spot a scam if the communication:

  • is unexpected
  • offers a refund, tax rebate or grant
  • asks for personal information, such as bank details
  • is threatening
  • tells you to transfer money.

If you need help with your Self-Assessment tax return before the filing deadline on 31 January 2021, please contact us at enquiries@stca.co.uk or call 01494 552 100.

This blog is for guidance only, professional advice should be obtained before acting on any information contained herein. The information was correct at time of publishing 20th January 2021.