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Scam warning over self-assessment tax returns ahead of HMRC's January 31 deadline

Fraudsters are set to ramp-up efforts to scam taxpayers as the deadline nears for self-assessment tax returns.

Accountancy firm MHA MacIntyre Hudson, which has offices in Canterbury and Maidstone, are warning people to be alert to the various methods likely to be deployed.

Be alert to scams ahead of the self-assessment deadline
Be alert to scams ahead of the self-assessment deadline

It says there was a staggering 900,000 reports from the public last year about suspicious contact claiming to be from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

More than 100,000 of these were phone scams, while over 620,000 reports from the public were about bogus tax rebates.

The warning comes ahead of the January 31 self-assessment deadline.

MHA MacIntyre Hudson tax partner Glen Thomas said: “Fraudsters are becoming ever more sophisticated in the techniques they employ and with tax such a stressful and complicated issue it is not surprising people fall victim to their scams.

“Some of the most common techniques include phoning taxpayers offering a fake tax refund or pretending to be HMRC by texting or emailing a link which will take customers to a false page, where their bank details and money will be stolen.

Taxpayers who need to complete a self-assessment tax return need to do so by January 31
Taxpayers who need to complete a self-assessment tax return need to do so by January 31

“If people are in any doubt at all, they should check with their professional advisers or contact HMRC.”

HMRC operates a dedicated customer protection team to identify and close down scams but is advising customers to recognise the signs to avoid becoming victims themselves.

It says it would never contact customers asking for their PIN, password or bank details and people should never give out private information, reply to text messages, download attachments or click on links in texts or emails which they are not expecting.

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