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Scammers ramp up activity ahead of self assessment deadline

19 November: HMRC is urging taxpayers to beware of contact from potential fraudsters and to report any suspicious messages as the self assessment deadline approaches.

HMRC has warned that taxpayers who complete self assessment tax returns are targeted by scammers in the run up to the 31 January deadline.

It is at this time of year when HMRC sends thousands of messages and emails to taxpayers about the upcoming deadline and so fraudsters also ramp up their activity.

Taxpayers are urged to be cautious of any calls, emails or texts claiming to be from HMRC, saying that they are entitled to a tax refund or owe tax, or ask for bank details.

It says that in the past 12 months members of the public have reported almost half a million examples of where they were offered bogus tax rebates.

HMRC has published a checklist to help taxpayers identify if a contact is genuine and also instructions of how to report a scam.

It urges all taxpayer to not:

  • give out private information,
  • reply to text messages, or
  • download attachments and click on links in unexpected text messages or emails.

This year, for the first time, HMRC will be sending reminders about self assessment filing and payment to represented taxpayers. ICAEW’s Tax Faculty recommends that agents alert their clients about the genuine HMRC contact they will receive and the risk of scams.

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