HMRC is warning taxpayers completing their 2020–2021 tax return to be vigilant, as criminals are targeting unsuspecting individuals filing Self Assessment returns to steal money or personal information.
It says taxpayers should guard against malicious emails, phone calls or texts that appear to be genuine HMRC communications referring to their Self Assessment tax return.
The Revenue has received nearly 360,000 bogus tax rebate referrals, with almost 800,000 tax-related scams reported in the past 12 months.
The timing of the warning comes as HMRC is in the process of sending more than four million emails and SMS to Self Assessment taxpayers, prompting them to think about how they intend to pay their tax bill, or seek support if they are unable to pay in full, by 31 January.
Myrtle Lloyd, HMRC’s Director General for Customer Services, said: “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.”
She added: “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 out how to report them to us.”
HMRC is also reminding Self Assessment taxpayers to double check websites and online forms before using them to complete their 2020 to 2021 tax return.
It said: “People can be taken in by misleading websites designed to make them pay for help in submitting tax returns or charging to connect them to HMRC phone lines. Customers who are in any doubt about whether a website is genuine should visit GOV.UK for more information about Self Assessment and use the free signposted tax return forms.”