ABS Accountancy

In the 12 months leading up to September 2023, HMRC has been actively combating scammers who impersonate them to target taxpayers. These scammers employ various tactics, such as offering tax rebates and making false threats regarding unpaid taxes.  HMRC issued a warning to taxpayers, advising them to remain vigilant against scam attempts through text messages, emails, and phone calls initiated by fraudsters. Combating HMRC Scammers is a top priority during this period.

During this period, HMRC received more than 130,000 reports of tax scams, with approximately 58,000 of them involving fraudulent tax rebate offers. It’s worth noting that the overall number of scam attacks decreased compared to 2022 when HMRC recorded over 80,000 instances of scams related to tax rebates.
HMRC continues its efforts to safeguard the public from these scams. In the 12 months leading up to September 2023, HMRC actively responded to 60,000 reports of phone scams and successfully took down 25,000 malicious web pages used for fraudulent activities.

With approximately 12 million individuals anticipated to file a self-assessment tax return for the 2022 to 2023 tax year by the 31 January 2024 deadline, fraudsters are intensifying their efforts to deceive taxpayers while posing as HMRC. So, Combating HMRC Scammers is of utmost importance.
These fraudulent schemes come in various forms. Some promise tax rebates, while others inform taxpayers that they must update their tax information or even issue threats of immediate arrest for alleged tax evasion.

Myrtle Lloyd, who serves as HMRC’s director general for customer services, issued a warning, emphasising the need for customers to exercise caution regarding approaches from fraudsters in the lead-up to the self-assessment deadline. She highlighted that criminals excel at impersonation, employing methods such as sending emails, making phone calls, and sending texts that mimic government communications to appear authentic. Lloyd advised that receiving unexpected contacts of this nature should raise suspicion, urging individuals to take their time and consult HMRC’s guidance on recognising scams, found on the official Government website, HMRC scams advice on gov UK.

There are essential steps you should take to ensure that your tax affairs remain secure, including reporting any suspicious communications to HMRC:

In addition, it’s crucial to pre-register if you are obligated to complete a self-assessment form for the first time. New self-assessment taxpayers may include individuals who have recently engaged in activities such as establishing a side business to supplement their PAYE employment, selling cryptocurrency assets, entering self-employment, or becoming landlords renting out property.

This obligation applies to anyone engaged in self-employment, whether as a sole trader or in a business partnership. It extends to individuals operating within the gig economy, those generating secondary income from activities like eBay trading or engaging in money-earning pursuits as influencers and advertisers on social media platforms.

Similarly, individuals receiving income from property rentals, such as through platforms like Airbnb, must file a tax return if their earnings surpass £1,000. Combating HMRC Scammers is essential in all these cases.

Gains from the sale of crypto assets are subject to capital gains tax; additionally, it’s essential to be aware that the higher rate child benefit charge applies to all individuals earning more than £50,000, including any capital gains tax on your Self-Assessment tax return.

HMRC strongly encourages taxpayers to submit their returns early, preferably before 31 January. They emphasise that outstanding tax payments can be made by the deadline unless
individuals opt for an alternative arrangement. This approach not only ensures timely payment of any overpaid taxes but also facilitates early refunds.

For assistance and guidance in completing your return, you can access resources on the official government website, Help and Support. In cases where more complex inquiries arise, the self-assessment helpline is available to provide support. Combating HMRC Scammers is an ongoing effort, and HMRC is here to help taxpayers navigate the process.

HMRC offers an extensive array of online resources to assist taxpayers in the process of filing a tax return. These resources encompass a variety of helpful tools and platforms, such as a series of instructional video tutorials available on YouTube, as well as comprehensive guidance and support on GOV.UK. Additionally, HMRC provides a digital assistant, an official HMRC app, community forums, and an email service for further assistance.

For those individuals who believe they no longer have the obligation to complete a self-assessment tax return for the 2022 to 2023 tax year, it’s imperative to inform HMRC before the 31 January 2024 deadline to prevent the imposition of penalties.

Notably, the deadline for submitting tax returns for the 2022 to 2023 tax year varies depending on the method of submission. For paper returns, the deadline is 31 October 2023, while for online returns, it is 31 January 2024. Combating HMRC Scammers remains crucial throughout this process to protect taxpayers from fraudulent activities.