Somehow, it’s almost self-assessment time again in the tax year with the deadline being just three months away and now, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has issued a critical alert to around 12 million people in the UK.
This warning comes as HMRC received more than 130,000 reports about tax scams in the 12 months to September 2023, of which, 58,000 were offering tax rebates.
The organisation urges that, “With around 12 million people expected to submit a Self Assessment tax return for the 2022 to 2023 tax year before the 31 January 2024 deadline, fraudsters will prey on customers by impersonating HMRC”.
However, the scams don’t just offer rebates. They also tell customers that they need to update their tax details or even threaten immediate arrest for tax evasion.
HMRC urges customers to stay wary
Myrtle Lloyd, HMRC’s Director General for Customer Services, said, “HMRC is reminding customers to be wary of approaches by fraudsters in the run up to the Self Assessment deadline.”
“Criminals are great pretenders who try and dupe people by sending emails, phone calls and texts which mimic government messages to make them appear authentic.”
Lloyd added that unexpected contacts like these should set alarm bells ringing so, “take your time and check HMRC scams advice on GOV.UK”.
How to report potential tax scams to HMRC
Customers can report any suspicious communications to HMRC:
- forward suspicious texts claiming to be from HMRC to 60599
- forward emails to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- report tax scam phone calls to HMRC on GOV.UK.
The organisation also assures that, “HMRC works to protect the public from scammers. In the 12 months to September 2023, HMRC has responded to 60,000 reports of phone scams alone and got 25,000 malicious web pages taken down.”