HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is urging people to complete their tax returns in good time, prior to the January deadline. They are also warning people of a potential Tax scam as people now start to complete their tax returns. Scams across the UK are becoming more are more prevalent and HMRC are asking people to be on high alert.
12 Million Taxpayers to Complete a Self-Assessment Tax Return
HMRC expect around 12 million taxpayers to complete the Self-Assessment tax return prior to the 31st January 2021 deadline. HMRC’s Interim Director, Karl Khan comments, “The 31st January deadline for tax returns is still a few weeks away, but customers don’t have to wait until then. We’re encouraging them to beat the busy January rush and get their tax returns in now. We know that many people are affected by the coronavirus pandemic this year and we’re here to help if they need to spread the cost of their tax bill. It’s quick and easy to set up a payment plan online and there’s no need to call us to set it up.”
Tax Scam Warning
HMRC are asking taxpayers to be vigilant for the many phishing scams plus false HMRC websites. As the deadline looms nearer, HM Revenue and Customs issues thousands of SMS messages and emails to advise customers of the deadline. HMRC are aware that fraudsters use emails, texts or calls to confuse customers. In the previous year they have responded to 846,000 referrals of suspicious HMRC contact from the public. In this time, over 15,500 malicious web pages have been reported and taken down.
Fake ‘Tax Rebate’ or Tax Refund’ Scam
It is claimed there have been almost half a million bogus offers of tax rebates. Karl Khan, says “We know that criminals take advantage of the Self Assessment deadline to panic customers into sharing their personal or financial details and even paying bogus ‘tax due’. If someone calls, email or texts claiming to be from HMRC, offering financial help or asking for money it might be a scam. Please take a moment to think before parting with any private information or money.”
Many fraudsters will use language intended to convince them to give over personal information. This includes bank details so they can claim the bogus refund. The imposters will then use this data to gain access to customers’ bank accounts or sell it on to other criminals.
How to Identify a Tax Scam
Self Assessment customers can complete their tax return online here. HMRC will always ask customers to verify their identity when using HMRC’s online services. Customers should have two sources of information including a UK Passport, P60 or payslip, Tax Credits or Credit Reference Agency Data.
If you’re concerned about being a victim to a potential scam think twice before responding. It is OK to refuse any requests if you think they may be fraudulent. HMRC say it can be a scam if the email, text or phone call
- Is threatening in its nature
- Asks you to transfer money
- Is unexpected and out of the blue
- Offers a tax refund, tax rebate or grant
- Asks you for personal information such as bank details
What To Do If You’ve Been Scammed
If you think you’ve fallen victim to a scam contact your bank straight away. Report it to Action Fraud who are the National Fraud & Cyber Crime Reporting Centre. Forward any suspicious emails who claim to be from HMRC to firstname.lastname@example.org and texts to 60599.
You can visit the gov.uk site to read more information on potential scams.