31.10.2023 | Tax

Beware fraudsters in the run up to self-assessment deadlines

Head of Taxation at Beatons, Andrew Diver, explains: “HMRC has apparently received more than 130,000 reports about tax scams in the past year, with 58,000 of those being related to fraudsters offering fake tax rebates.”

Anyone who needs to file a self-assessment tax form may not be ready just yet – but deadlines are looming.

In fact, if you still file by post, the deadline has just passed (Oct 31st). The online deadline is January 31st – and as we all know, it will soon come around.

Filing a return can be tiresome at the best of times, but it’s also a time of year that fraudsters prey on, potentially making it tougher.

HMRC is already warning self-assessment taxpayers to be on the lookout for scam texts, emails and phone calls from fraudsters.

Head of Taxation at Beatons, Andrew Diver, explains: “HMRC has apparently received more than 130,000 reports about tax scams in the past year, with 58,000 of those being related to fraudsters offering fake tax rebates.

“The scams take different approaches. Some claim to be offering a rebate, while others tell taxpayers they need to update their tax details or threaten immediate arrest for tax evasion.”

Around 12 million people will submit a self-assessment tax return for the 2022/23 tax year before the 31st January 2024 deadline, so it’s important to be vigilant. HMRC says any unexpected contact should be treated cautiously.

Myrtle Lloyd, HMRC’s Director General for Customer Services, said: “HMRC is reminding taxpayers to be wary of approaches by fraudsters in the run-up to the self-assessment deadline. Criminals are great pretenders who try and dupe people by sending emails, phone calls and texts which mimic government messages to make them appear authentic.

“Unexpected contacts like these should set alarm bells ringing, so take your time and check HMRC scams advice on GOV.UK.”

Using a trusted accountant can help with the overall burden of filing a tax return. Depending on the size of your business, the rules can be complex, and the process is time-consuming.

Knowing that a professional is handling your taxes, can take the worry out of any contact made by HMRC – fake or not.

Andrew says: ‘We aim to ease the stress often caused by self-assessment and help you avoid costly mistakes, by offering a comprehensive self-assessment service.

“Now is actually a good time to start thinking ahead about your return, before the Christmas rush. We can save you time, worry, and money by handling the process for you. Let us do the work, complete your return, and even offer advice on how you can minimise your tax liability.”

An extra benefit of instructing an accountant is that they can deal directly with the HM Revenue & Customs on your behalf, another reason to not fear any ‘out of the blue’ contact.

Should you be selected for a self-assessment enquiry by HMRC, your accountant can act for you at any meetings.

Beatons has decades’ worth of expertise on tax matters and can advise in all areas, not just self-assessment.

Beatons website hosts a wealth of information, and they’d be delighted to hear from you – info@beatons.co.uk or call us on 01473659777.