HMRC have recently updated their website with new guidance on how to avoid scams and how to tell if a communication from them is actually genuine. The page details exactly when, why and how they might contact taxpayers for a variety of different reasons. They also offer advice on the information taxpayers should or shouldn’t provide if asked for.
For those that wish to view the full document, it can be found here
One of the most common ways for scams to be sent out is by e-mail and a number of these e-mails can be very convincing. Below are some of the main things to be wary of in an e-mail purporting to be from HMRC:
- Spelling and grammar errors
- Senders e-mail address, however do be aware that some fraudsters can falsify the “from” address to look like a genuine HMRC address
- Requiring urgent action from a taxpayer in order to avoid fines or imprisonment
- Links to websites which may look like the HMRC homepage
- Attachments to the email which may contain viruses
- Notifications of a repayment pending (HMRC will never contact taxpayers by e-mail regarding a repayment)
If any of the above apply, you can contact HMRC directly and confirm the validity of the communication. The best way to get genuine contact information for HMRC is through the gov.uk website rather than through a link or telephone number in the communication.
If you have any doubts regarding any communication from HMRC or if you are at all concerned about information you may have given out, please contact our Tax Director, Jenny Marks.