HMRC Tax Return Scams

If you’re a self-employed individual, chances are you’ll be targeted by a HMRC tax return scam at some point. Fraudsters will often use calls, emails, automated voicemails or texts to try and trick you; the most common scam being a ‘tax refund from HMRC’, where they’ll attempt to convince you to hand over your details to claim a fake tax rebate.

Unfortunately, HM Revenue scams are only becoming more sophisticated, which is why we’ve put together this guide to tell you what you need to be on the lookout for.

How to spot a HMRC tax return scam

First things first, HMRC will never contact you by phone, email or text regarding tax rebates, refunds or to ask for personal information or payment details, contact will only ever be made via post. However, they have said that sometimes they’ll call people (these may be automated) about outstanding bills, but they’ll always include your UTR number, so be sure to listen out for this.

Here are some more tips for spotting a HM revenue scam email, phone call or text:

1.     Unusual language use

A vast number of HM Revenue scams will contain or use language which may sound odd or improper. Watch out for quick calls to action, threatening (such as legal action/warrants for your arrest) and pressure to do something as quickly as possible.

2.     Check the email addresses

Nowadays HM Revenue scam emails can look really genuine, but one way to tell if it’s fake or not is by checking all the email addresses that it was sent from. If you’re in doubt, you can also try googling the email address or contact them directly to check if it’s one HMRC uses.

3.     Never click on links or open attachments

If the email or text is linking you through to website or there’s a file attached, never open it. It’s highly likely the link will send you through to a website to harvest your personal information and files can spread malware to steal your identity and money.

4.     Asking for personal or financial information

HMRC will never ask for personal or financial information over text or email, so if you get one offering a tax refund in exchange for personal or financial details, never reply. Be aware that scammers can also use number spoofing to make your phone display read as ‘HMRC’ instead of an actual phone number.

What should I do if I get a HM Revenue scam email, call or text?

You should always report suspicious emails, texts or calls to HMRC, you can find out how to do this on the HMRC website.

If you think you’ve been a victim of a HMRC tax return scam or have provided your bank details, you should contact your bank or payment provider as soon as possible. They’ll be able to provide further advice on how to protect your account and if any money’s been taken, they can help you get it back too.

HMRC tax return scam prime time

Although you may be targeted by a HM Revenue scam anytime of the year, there are certain periods where you’re more likely to, these include:

  • 31st October (paper tax return deadline)
  • 31st January (online tax return deadline)

During these periods you should be extra vigilant and remember to never give out any personal or financial details.

If you’re struggling to find the time to complete your self-assessment tax return or are worried about correspondence with HMRC, we can help! Get in touch today or call us on 01633 288 299 and find out how we can take the stress out of your finances. Related: Self-Assessment Penalties