Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is interacted with by millions of people each year when dealing with tax affairs. However, perhaps the most important time of the year is the Self Assessment tax return deadline, which this year falls on January 31, 2021. Self Assessment is used by HMRC to collect Income Tax, but unfortunately, fraudsters are now taking advantage of the impending deadline to trick unsuspecting Britons.
HMRC recently placed a message online, which read: “Be aware of copycat websites and phishing scams.
“Always type in the full online address gov.uk/hmrc to obtain the correct link to do your Self Assessment return online securely and free of charge.”
A number of scams have been circulating recently, purporting to be from the Revenue, and telling Britons they are entitled to tax rebates.
One such scam email read: “Due to ongoing coronavirus guidance and support for businesses, we’ve determined you are eligible to receive a tax refund credit of £5429.11.
By clicking links contained within, criminals may be able to harvest the personal and sensitive information of unsuspecting victims.
This could be used for identity theft purposes, or to wipe a person’s bank balance.
As such, those who are filling in their Self Assessment tax return ahead of the January 31 deadline have been urged to stay vigilant.
Recently, HMRC’s Interim Director General for Customer Services, Karl Khan, commented on the matter.
He said: “We know that criminals take advantage of the Self Assessment deadline to panic customers into sharing their personal or financial details and even paying bogus ‘tax due’.
“If someone calls, emails or texts claiming to be from HMRC, offering financial help or asking for money, it might be a scam.
“Please take a moment to think before parting with any private information or money.”
The government has urged those who are suspicious about any correspondence they receive to take action as soon as possible.
Britons can either email HMRC or send a text to the official 60599 for the incident to be investigated further.
Self-Assessment must be completed by the deadline, or Britons risk incurring late penalties.
People will be able to pay their Self Assessment tax bill online through the government’s official website.
The government has explained: “Because of coronavirus, you can delay making your second payment on account.
“You’ll not be charged interest or penalties as long as you pay before January 31, 2021.”