Christmas is coming… and so are the tax scams06/12/2021
According to a recent press release from HMRC, an incredible 800,000 tax-related scams have been reported to it this year. So, taxpayers should watch out for more than just Santa this year.
What do they look like? Although scammers sometimes show great creativity in finding new ways to part people from their money, HMRC says the bulk of these scams look to solicit bank or personal details under threat of arrest or court action.
The reason tax scams are likely to increase in the coming month is simple: self-assessment returns for 2020-21 have to be filed by 31 January 2022, meaning taxpayers will be expecting to see more communication from HMRC anyway. This gives scammers the perfect opportunity to take advantage of.
As a result of increasing numbers of tax scams, HMRC has released guidance on how to avoid falling for them. In a recent communication, it wrote:
“More than 4 million emails and SMS will be issued this week to Self-Assessment taxpayers pointing them to guidance and support, prompting them to think about how they intend to pay their tax bill, and to seek support if they are unable to pay in full by 31 January.
“However, the department is also warning taxpayers not to be taken in by malicious emails, phone calls or texts, thinking that these are genuine HMRC communications referring to their Self-Assessment tax return.”
“Never let yourself be rushed. If someone contacts you saying they’re from HMRC, wanting you to urgently transfer money or give personal information, be on your guard. HMRC will also never ring up threatening arrest. Only criminals do that.
“Scams come in many forms. Some threaten immediate arrest for tax evasion, others offer a tax rebate. Contacts like these should set alarm bells ringing, so if you are in any doubt whether the email, phone call or text is genuine, you can check the ‘HMRC scams’ advice on GOV.UK and find our how to report them to us.”
You can find that GOV.UK page here.
As a general rule, HMRC will not threaten tax payers. However, some scams are easier to spot than others. So, what should you do if you receive a communication that you’re not sure about? Contact your tax adviser!
At JW Hinks, our dedicated and professional tax team help clients avoid tax scams, comply with the law, and pay the minimum legal amount of tax required. Get in touch with us on 0121 456 0190 to find our how we can help you or your business to live a healthier tax life.