Self-assessment taxpayers are being urged to be alert for scam texts, emails and phone calls from fraudsters.

The warning comes as HMRC received more than 130,000 reports about tax scams in the 12 months to September this year, of which 58,000 were offering fake tax rebates.

Scammers impersonating HMRC

Around 12 million people are expected to submit a self-assessment tax return for the 2022-2023 tax year before the 31 January deadline.

Fraudsters target taxpayers by pretending to be HMRC.

The scams take different approaches. Some offer a rebate, while others tell people they need to update their tax details or threaten immediate arrest for tax evasion.

Myrtle Lloyd, HMRC’s Director General for Customer Services, said: “HMRC is reminding customers 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.”

Report suspicious communications to HMRC

If you spot something suspicious, you can:

  • Forward suspicious texts claiming to be from HMRC to 60599
  • Forward emails to phishing@hmrc.gov.uk
  • Report tax scam phone calls to HMRC on GOV.UK

In the 12 months to September 2023, HMRC responded to 60,000 reports of phone scams alone and got 25,000 malicious web pages taken down.

Tax return deadlines

The deadlines for the 2022-2023 tax year are 31 October 2023 for paper returns and 31 January 2024 for online returns. HMRC no longer automatically issues paper returns unless there’s a reason you can’t file online.

If you’re due to complete your self-assessment tax return, you don’t need to wait until the 31 January deadline to submit it. You can file it before then. Plus, you don’t have to pay until the deadline, unless you choose to.

Filing earlier allows you to find out what you owe sooner or, if you’re owed money, to get your refund.

Our advice on tax scams

Fraudsters are always finding new ways to try to steal your money or personal information, so it’s crucial not to give them any opportunity to succeed.

We all lead busy lives, but you shouldn’t let your guard down either online or on the phone. And if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Need help with your taxes?

Our team of tax advisers are experienced at dealing with all areas of UK taxation, including tax returns.

Contact us on 07813 434195 or email: stephanie.churchill@churchilltaxation.co.uk

Steph Churchill

Stephanie Churchill

Managing director & co-owner of Churchill Taxation