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Filling in your tax return? Beware of sites pretending to be the HMRC

27th January 2014

If you are filing your tax return be warned: there are currently plenty of fraudsters trying to con you out of your hard-earned cash.

There seem to be more than ever this year and we’ve received a number of warnings at Howlader & Co as the submission deadline looms.

For those who have managed to avoid HMRC’s ‘Inner Peace’ campaign – or their accountant’s phone calls – deadline day is January 31!

And an article published in the Times warns that email scams are on the rise.

HMRC are quick to point out that they never send notification of tax rebates or ask for personal details through email – they would much rather send it by second-class post that takes two weeks to arrive!

So be wary of any genuine-looking email addresses – eg services@hmrc.co.uk, taxes@hmrc.co.uk or refunds@hmrc.co.uk.

Meanwhile, a copycat HMRC website – http://taxreturngateway.com/ – has been duping taxpayers into paying a fee to file their tax return.

At first glance, the website appears genuine – using a similar colour scheme and naming as the official HMRC website.

To make matters worse, searching on Google for ‘tax return’ or similar brings it to the top of page one.

However, they fool taxpayers into parting with their cash by calculating an estimated tax bill and asking for payment immediately (with the threat of penalties from HMRC if you don’t pay).

The figure they ask for is often the same as the estimated calculation, making people think they are paying their tax.

In reality it is just a fee charged by the website and the actual tax bill often turns out lower than the estimated one!

We advise anybody submitting their tax return to be on the lookout for scams like this, and – if you have any suspicions – do not give your personal details out.

There is no charge for using HMRC’s online submission software. If something doesn’t look right, consult a professional for a second opinion – as always, we’re only too happy to help.