Tax returns are stressful enough, and the risk of being scammed makes it even more worrying. Don’t fall into the hands of criminals by falling for their scams; have a read through our blog and make sure that you know what to look out for.

HMRC received almost 900,000 reports over the last year about suspicious HMRC contact and potential tax scams. One of the most common techniques used by fraudsters is to send text messages and emails claiming that you are entitled to a tax rebate. The link takes you to a fraudulent page, where your information and money are both stolen. Fraudsters have also been known to threaten victims with arrest if they do not pay a fine immediately.

HMRC has a dedicated Customer Protection team, who work hard to close down scams as soon as possible; they also help to raise awareness on what to look out for. You should never give out your private information, reply to text messages, or download unknown email attachments.

If you have received a suspicious email or phone call, you should report it immediately to phishing@hmrc.gov.uk, and you should report suspicious texts to 60599. If you have already fallen victim to a scam, and have suffered financial loss, you should contact Action Fraud on 03001232040, or you can use the online fraud reporting tool.

Who needs to complete a tax return?

  • If you have earned £2,500 or more from renting out property;
  • If you or partner received child benefit and had an annual income of more than £50,000;
  • If you received more than £2,500 in untaxed income, such as tips or commission;
  • If you are self-employed or a sole trader;
  • If you are claiming expenses in excess of £ 2,500;
  • If you have an annual income over £100,000; and
  • If you have earned an income from abroad that you need to pay tax on.

If it is your first time doing a tax return, you need to register for self-assessment online. It may take a few days to go through, so if you are concerned with missing the deadline, then you should contact HMRC as soon as you can. Always go through the correct sites, and be aware that there will be fraudulent sites out there just waiting for you to divulge all of your personal information.

If all of this seems too daunting for you, you may be better off hiring an accountant to do it for you. Not only are they the experts of the field, but having an accountant will also give you more time to work on your business, and of course, less stress; get in touch today if this seems like a better option for you.