Tis the season for, nicely, numerous issues. Get trick or treating out of the way in which, after which it’s time for the vacations. End unwrapping your presents, and prepare for New 12 months’s Eve. When you’ve caught up in your sleep, it’s arguably probably the most thrilling time of all – that’s proper, tax season.
In all seriousness, tax season will be an especially demanding time for taxpayers and accountants alike – maybe much more so this yr, with HMRC’s monumental change, Making Tax Digital (MTD) for VAT, totally underway for the primary time.
Affected enterprise house owners and their advisors are adapting to this variation whereas the self-employed and landlords are getting ready for the arrival of subsequent yr’s MTD for Revenue Tax Self Evaluation (ITSA) – each of which is able to end in larger efficiencies and fewer onerous admin.
Nonetheless, a extra pernicious difficulty is looming giant.
HMRC has warned that taxpayers are more and more being focused by fraudsters, and ought to be conscious of scams the place they will pay money for private info or financial institution particulars. Right here’s all it is advisable to learn about this burgeoning risk, and a few steps to maintain your particulars secure.
In line with HMRC, between September 2021 and August 2022 they’ve responded to greater than 180,000 referrals of suspicious exercise from taxpayers and of those referrals, nearly 81,000 of those associated to scams providing faux tax rebates.
I’ve personally obtained just a few of those in latest months. They’ve included an automatic phone message telling me that I’ve underpaid Nationwide Insurance coverage and to pay over the cellphone or face a felony conviction, in addition to emails claiming to be HMRC telling me to click on a hyperlink to enter financial institution particulars to get my tax rebate. Suspicion piqued, fortunately I did neither.
I’m fortunate sufficient to have a background in tax advisory, so I do know the warning indicators. However others received’t pay attention to their tax place, particularly those that are unrepresented. At a time the place many are struggling, the prospect of free cash from HMRC is interesting and I concern many will fall sufferer to those horrible scams over the subsequent few months.
So, how are you going to inform in case you are being focused?
First, it’s important to do not forget that HMRC would by no means name somebody threatening arrest. If you happen to ever get this name, alarm bells ought to be ringing. In reality, in case you obtain contact from anybody claiming to be from HMRC in any means, it’s best to take your time and examine this recommendation on gov.uk.
If you happen to suspect you might be being focused, you may report suspicious exercise to HMRC by forwarding textual content messages to 60599 and any emails to email@example.com. If you happen to obtain a cellphone name, you may report it utilizing this on-line type.
It’s additionally necessary to remember this barely pessimistic view: if it sounds too good to be true, it in all probability is. If you happen to obtain any correspondence from HMRC saying you might be due a rebate or face felony motion in case you don’t act now, simply cease, take a minute after which contact HMRC instantly if in case you have any issues.
Steps to security
Hopefully you escape this season with out being focused by fraudsters, however keep in mind there are all the time further steps you may take to maintain your info secure.
First, use Multi-Issue Authentication or verification apps to construct in extra ranges of safety. Second, all the time apply software program updates in your gadgets as and after they turn into out there. Third, by no means use the identical password for various web sites – you wouldn’t share your Netflix logins with somebody if the password was the identical as your Amazon account, for instance.
Lastly, by no means share your login info with anybody, no matter how reliable they could appear. By bearing these factors in thoughts, it’s best to be capable to keep away from being caught out by fraudsters this tax season.
To be taught extra about MTD for VAT, take a look at our hubs for small companies and accountants. If you wish to discover out extra about MTD for ITSA, now we have a host of assets out there to get you up to the mark.
The best way to protect yourself as a taxpayer is to be aware of the types of fraudsters that target UK taxpayers, and to have a strong understanding of the tax laws and procedures in the UK. Additionally, it is important to have a reliable tax preparer who can help you navigate the complex tax laws in the UK. Finally, be sure to keep track of your finances and bank statements, and to report any suspicious activity to your tax preparer or the authorities.