As the deadline for submitting self-assessment tax returns nears, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) have noticed a drastic rise in tax scam activities in the UK. The scammers disguise themselves as HMRC officials and ask self-assessment customers to share financial and personal details for tax rebates and tax refunds. 

In a bid to save the self-assessment customers from scamming attempts and culprits, our experts have compiled a set of instructions. By following these instructions, you can not only successfully identify the scammers and scamming attempts, but can also save your dear ones. 

These 6 instructions are as follow:

  1. If anyone contacts you “out of the blue”, introduces himself as an HMRC official, and asks you to share your personal and financial information, it’s highly likely that scammers are on the other side of the phone/screen. The bottom line is to never share your details as HMRC never asks for the same via phone or mail. 
  1. HMRC never forwards an electronic-mail or a text on your phone for a tax refund or tax rebate. Therefore, never click on the links given in such emails or texts. 
  1. If you receive an email other than from the official email ID of the HMRC, it’s for sure that someone is trying to scam you. To identify such emails is a bit tricky as scammers usually mention HMRC somewhere in the address to make it more believable. 
  1. If someone asks you for transfer funds or money in terms of fee for a tax return or tax rebate service, it’s a red flag. 
  1. If an email entails attachments and links other than HMRC, it is likely to be a scamming attempt. 
  1. If you receive a call or a text message and the person on the other side doesn’t use the name that you have registered with HMRC, this could be spam. 

If scammers succeed in getting your financial information, they will either use it to steal from you or will send it to other culprits. In both ways, you will be deprived of your hard-earned money. 

To read HMRC’s warnings on tax scam activities in the UK, click here.

So, if you sense that you have provided your information to the wrong person, contact your bank as soon as possible. The second thing to do in such cases is to report “Action Fraud” about it either online or by a call. 

HMRC has also established a state-of-the-art Protection Cell whose job is to identify online scammers and take them down with the help of other stakeholders. 

In the past 12 months only, members of Protection Cell has taken down a whopping 15,500 fake web pages that were being used by scammers for scamming activities. Likewise, HMRC have responded to as many as 900,000 public queries about malicious and fake HMRC contacts. In 500,000 referrals, the scammers were offering tax refunds and tax rebates. 

If you need help with your self-assessment returns, reach out to our chartered accountants and certified tax advisers for a 15-minute free call. Yes, you heard it right. Once you drop your details, our experts make a 15-minute free call. 

It’s better to get in touch with experts at the first available moment as the deadline for submitting returns is midnight of 31 January 2021. If you fail to meet the deadline, HMRC will impose penalties and fines. Besides, you will be charged interest also. 

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