Self-Assessment users are warned about discount and arrest scams

Anyone filing a tax return in the coming months is warned to be on their guard against scams. Here’s what to watch out for.

In the 12 months to August 2022, HMRC reported 81,000 scams offering bogus tax rebates, while responding to 180,000 suspicious contact referrals from members of the public.

As the tax deadline approaches – 31 October for paper and 31 January 2023 for online declarations for the 2021/22 tax year, HMRC is warning that self-assessment customers could be a target for fraudsters.

HMRC said fraudsters target customers when they know they are more likely to come into contact with HMRC, which is why self-assessment customers should be extremely vigilant now.

There is a risk that people will be duped by fraudulent text messages, emails or calls offering a ‘refund’ or demanding unpaid tax if there is a threat of arrest.

HMRC will never call a threatening arrest.

And for those new to self-assessment, they are warned not to click on links in emails or clicks that reveal personal or financial information to criminals.

Never share login information

Meanwhile, those filing online through GOV.UK should not share their HMRC login details. Someone using the details could steal from the customer or make a fraudulent claim on their behalf.

Myrtle Lloyd, chief executive of customer services at HMRC, said: “Never get pushed around. If someone contacts you saying they are from HMRC and want you to transfer money urgently or give out personal details, be on your guard.

“HMRC will never phone to threaten arrest. Only criminals do that.

“Tax scams come in many forms. Some threaten to be arrested immediately for tax evasion, others offer a rebate. Contacts like these should set off alarm bells, so take your time and check out the ‘HMRC scam advice’ on GOV.UK.

Anyone contacted by anyone claiming to be from HMRC in a way that arouses suspicion is urged to take their time and check the scam tips on GOV.UK.