More than 570,000 scams were reported to HMRC in the last year.

The news has prompted the tax body to warn people to be on their guard.

If you’re a self-assessment taxpayer, you’re at increased risk of falling victim to a scam at this time of year. So, it’s important to be alert for scam texts, emails or phone calls, either offering you a ‘refund’ or demanding unpaid tax.

You should also double-check websites and online forms before using them to complete your tax return. Be careful not to fall victim to misleading websites designed to make you pay for help in submitting tax returns or charging to connect you to HMRC phone lines.

Watch out for offers of false tax rebates

In the 12 months to January 2022, nearly 220,000 scams reported to HMRC offered bogus tax rebates.

The criminals are trying to steal your money or personal information, and they often imitate Government messages to make them appear genuine.

In January this year, phone scams soared to 3,995 compared to 425 reported in April 2020.

Myrtle Lloyd, HMRC’s Director General for Customer Services, said: “If someone contacts you saying they’re from HMRC, wanting you to transfer money or give personal information, be on your guard.

“Never let yourself be rushed, and if you’re in any doubt then check our ‘HMRC scams’ advice on GOV.UK.”

Extra time for tax returns

This year, HMRC gave taxpayers an extra month to submit their completed tax returns. And if you filed yours by 28 February, you would have avoided a late filing penalty.

More than 11.3 million people submitted their self-assessment tax return by 28 February, with more than one million of those taking advantage of the extra time by completing the document in February.

Paying your tax bill

You have until 1 April to pay the tax you owe or set up a Time to Pay (TTP) plan to avoid a late payment fine. Meanwhile, interest has been added to all outstanding balances since 1 February.

You can make payments quickly and securely through the HMRC app, or visit the GOV.UK website to see a full list of payment methods.

Our thoughts

Scammers 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 should be careful not to let your guard down either online or on the phone. And if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Plain-English tax advice

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

For trusted, clear advice, call us today on 07813 434195 or email: stephanie.churchill@churchilltaxation.co.uk

Steph Churchill

Stephanie Churchill

Managing director & co-owner of Churchill Taxation