Tax Credits and ‘Phishing’
HM Revenue and Customs (“HMRC”) have recently warned tax credit claimants about scam or ‘phishing’ emails being sent out by fraudsters in the run up to the 31 July renewal deadline. During last years renewal period nearly 51,000 phishing emails were reported to HMRC and 9,000 fake websites were closed.
Such emails often promise refunds and include a link to a fake replica of HMRC’s website. The website then asks for credit or debit card details, passwords or other sensitive information, which will then be used to try to take money from victim’s bank accounts or steal their identity.
These emails are, of course, not restricted to tax credit claimants and all taxpayers are at risk. HMRC have confirmed they will never ask people to disclose personal or payment information by email and have asked those receiving such requests to forward emails to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tax credit deadline – a reminder
If you are in receipt of tax credits then it is essential that you renew your claim by 31 July 2015 or your payments could stop.
All current claimants should have received a renewals pack from the Tax Credit Office (“TCO”) which must be actioned by the end of the month. If the pack contains only an Annual Review notice the information held must be checked carefully and if correct no action is required and credits will be renewed automatically.
If the pack contains an Annual Declaration requesting specific information this must be completed and submitted or HMRC will stop payments and can recover credits already paid.
If you have received an Annual Declaration with the code “TC 603 R” HMRC will renew your claim automatically. You must check the form to see if your details have changed and use the online service to make any corrections at the following address:
Your renewal pack will have a red line across the first page if you need to send a reply. If your pack includes an online reference then you can renew your tax credits online. If you haven’t received a renewal pack then telephone the helpline on 0345 300 3900.
If you renew online, for the first year HMRC will require that your identity is verified online as a security measure. Therefore you need to have available official documents such as bank or credit card statements, mobile phone and photo ID – such as your drivers licence or passport.
New Claims – Don’t Miss Out!
If your circumstances have changed, such as you are working shorter hours for example, it may well be that for the current year you will fall below the maximum income limits to qualify for tax credits of up to £26,000.
As child tax credits can be worth up to £2,750 per annum for even one child, if you think that there is any chance your income has dropped sufficiently it is essential that you register with TCO now.
Payments can now only be back dated by 1 month from registration therefore it is important to register with HMRC to avoid losing entitlements.
If you feel you may qualify for child tax credit or the working tax credit or want help finalising figures for an existing claim please contact our Tax Director, Jenny Marks.
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