Self-employed warned about tax scams after 800,000 reported in past year

Taxman tells the self-employed to watch out for scams when filing their 2020/21 tax return

HMRC is preparing to issue emails and text messages to people filing in their self-assessment, asking them to be on guard after almost 800,000 tax-related scams were reported in the last year.

Fraudsters use the self-assessment as a way to try and steal money or personal information from individuals.

In the last 12 months, HMRC has responded to 797,010 referrals of suspicious emails or messages from the public. Of these, it received nearly 360,000 bogus tax rebate referrals.

Phone scams targeting self-employed rise by a fifth

Reports of phone scams have gone up by a fifth (21%) in the past year, totalling 327,044. Meanwhile, 8,561 malicious websites were taken down.

HMRC said it has worked with the telecoms industry and Ofcom to remove more than 1,282 phone numbers being used to commit the phone scams.

With the self-assessment deadline approaching (31 January 2022), HMRC is sending out more than four million emails and text messages directing self-employed people to guidance and support about filing their taxes. 

Mrytle Lloyd, director-general for customer services at HMRC, said: “Never let yourself be rushed. If someone contacts you saying they’re from HMRC, wanting you to urgently transfer money or give personal information, be on your guard.

“HMRC will also never ring up threatening arrest. Only criminals do that.

“Scams come in many forms. Some threaten immediate arrest for tax evasion, others offer a tax rebate. 

“Contacts like these should set alarm bells ringing, so if you are in any doubt whether the email, phone call or text is genuine, you can check the ‘HMRC scams’ advice on and find out how to report them to us.”

Self-employed urged to be ‘vigilant’ when submitting tax return

Glenn Collins, head of UK tax policy for accountancy trade body, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, also urged the self-employed to be “vigilant.” 

He said: “As the self-assessment tax deadline looms, it’s important for people to be extra vigilant of all communications that come through from HMRC and the links embedded within these emails and messages.

“The key things to look out for include reviewing email sender addresses and setting up an additional security layer for any online payments sent through to HMRC, thus ensuring extra protection provided by the payee’s bank (for example, bank account names and details are checked to ensure they match before a payment is processed).

“Anyone posing as HMRC and rushing an individual into paying should be red-flagged immediately and reported to HMRC.”


  • HMRC Victim says:

    I submitted tax returns truthfully and legally every year all my working life so imagine my surprise when the tax office changed the law, backdated it then repossessed my house. How me and the wife laughed at the scammers shear audacity, but to their credit they managed to pull it off. She’s left me now.

  • Chris says:

    Well I once got conned into voting to abolish our countries most important trade deals with the promise of superior arrangements with far off places in the pacific.
    It turns out it was just a power grab by some experienced swindlers, they trashed my company and made me go back to being a wage slave.

  • Gary Andrews says:

    Tory Baroness Mone is one of the top scammers with her links to PPE Medpro. They scored £200m of Covid contracts straight after being incorporated. Initially red flagged but hit the jackpot after she lobbied Michael Gove and Matt Hancock directly on their behalf. Becoming “Incandescent with rage” that they hadn’t been awarded in the first instance.

    The nest of dubious businesses she and husband Doug Barrowman have been running are overdue for an investigation.

    • Johnny says:

      No doubt Baroness Mone lobbied on behalf of her billionaire husband’s Knox group responsible for the introduction and promotion of many ‘Loan chargeable’ schemes and payment mechanisms.
      They include Knox House Trust, Knox Private Office, Knox House Trustees Ltd, Carnegie Knox Ltd, Carnegie Knox Ltd (Scotland), Lancaster Knox LLP, Lancaster Knox Consulting Ltd, Knox Capital Solutions UK Ltd, AML Tax (UK) Ltd, AML Financial Executive Ltd, SmartPay Accounting Services Ltd.
      Uncanny how the promoters, who legally bore the liability, got away scot free when the loan charge was introduced to retrospectively transfer the liability onto the employees.
      There’s a pattern emerging with this corrupt behaviour at the heart of government.

  • Forgotten Few says:

    I phoned the police and told them about a gunman shooting people in our street, they advised me to be careful.

    Phew, thank good the powers that be are on top of the situation.

  • Robert Barrington says:

    The prime danger for the UK is therefore not a single corrupt administration, however undesirable that may be. The real concern should be that the UK has taken the first steps on a journey towards state capture which ends in being a mid-ranking, politically unstable semi-democracy, with a mid-level economy, in which corruption is prevalent and government is for the purpose of self-perpetuation and not the public interest.

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