Bogus HMRC emails

Over the years many taxpayers have received, either by email or by letter what are purported to be official correspondence by HMRC. These phishing emails are used by fraudsters to access recipient’s personal details, such as usernames and passwords. The messages may appear to be genuine and are likely to include a link with the danger that computer viruses may be inadvertently downloaded. Typically, in the case of emails, they would appear to be notifications of tax rebates but HMRC have confirmed on many occasions that do not send notifications of tax rebates by email. HMRC will not request personal or payment information by email.

Care has to be taken though because some email communications are genuine. Currently HMRC are sending out letters and emails to business that use the Flat Rate Scheme for VAT. These notifications detail the changes in the scheme which came into effect from April 2017. In addition letters are being sent to childcare providers inviting them to sign up to Tax-Free Childcare and separately Tax credit recipients asking them to take part in a short telephone survey.

The best advice is that if you are not sure whether the email that you have received is genuine; don’t open it until the sender can be verified.