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HMRC warns contractors against tax rebate scammers

Here we go again – scammers and identity thieves have come out of the woodwork in an attempt to phish personal details from the nation’s self-employed.

Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs says that the number of phishing emails in the three months prior to the 31 January self assessment deadline increased by a massive 47 per cent in comparison to the previous year’s figures. The total number of emails was more than 23,000 – and that’s just the ones that were reported to the taxman!

Of course, HMRC was quick to sound the warning that it never sends emails to taxpayers when they’re due a refund. Instead, the tax authority communicates only by post, and HMRC officials urged contract workers, freelancers, and other self-employed Brits to not fall into the trap just because they’re keen to get some money back from the Treasury.

Truth be told it’s getting harder to not run into some sort of tax fraud nowadays, as the entirety of last year saw more than 91,000 instances of fraud were reported to the taxman. It looks to me like scammers are stepping up their game by striking whilst those filing self assessment returns have their taxation responsibilities are forefront in their minds. For its part, HMRC is doing its best to close these bastards down, closing more than 175 fraudulent websites that were designed to trap taxpayers and trick them into giving over personal details. Considering that there were only 65 of these websites closed in January of 2013, I have to give credit to the taxman: well done, HMRC!

Yes, I know it sounds a bit odd for me to giving praise to the tax authority considering how I’ve been so critical of it in the past, but it’s instances like this that rekindles my faith in HMRC and its claims that it’s keeping an eye out for our best interests as taxpayers. Just because I don’t agree with every policy of the Treasury doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the hard work the taxman does in trying its best to collect taxes fairly; it’s not HMRC’s fault if the laws and regulations they have to enforce come from dodgy sources, is it?

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