HMRC has announced that it has saved the public over £2.4m by tackling fraudsters that trick them into using premium rate phone numbers for services that HMRC provide for free.
HMRC has reported that scammers create websites that look similar to HMRC’s official site and then direct the public to call numbers with extortionate costs in comparison to the low cost and no cost services that HMRC provides.
These websites promote premium rate phone numbers as a means of phoning HMRC but these are call forwarding services which connect the unsuspecting to HMRC at a premium rate.
HMRC’s has confirmed that its genuine 0300 numbers are mainly free or charged at the local landline rate. In other cases, websites charge for forwarding information to HMRC which can be provided free of charge via GOV.UK website.
HMRC has successfully challenged the ownership of these websites, masquerading as official websites, and removed them from the hands of cheats. Analysis carried out shows that had HMRC not taken this action then the public would have lost £2.4m to these scams.
Mel Stride, Financial Secretary to the Treasury said:
‘We know that HMRC is the most spoofed government brand as criminals try to take advantage of the fact that everyone has some involvement with the tax authority. In this particular case, scammers try to dupe the public into paying large sums for services that are available for free or low cost.’
‘This is a brazen con, charging premium rates whilst simply redirecting calls to the real HMRC numbers that are available at low or no cost. It is a testament to the hard work of HMRC that they have prevented criminals extracting £2.4m from the public.’
Internet link: GOV.UK news
HMRC has extended the payroll Real Time Information (RTI) late filing easement until April 2019.
Under RTI payroll obligations employers must submit details of payments made to employees on or before the day that wages are paid via a Full Payment Submission.
The updated guidance extends the easement, introduced in April 2015 to April 2019. The easement applies where an employer’s FPS is late but all reported payments on the FPS are within three days of the employees’ payday. This easement applies from 6 March 2015 to 5 April 2019. However, HMRC go on to clarify that employers who persistently file after the payment date but within three days may be contacted or considered for a penalty. Potential monthly penalties range from £100 to £400 depending on the size of the employer.
Please contact us for help or advice with payroll matters.
Internet link: GOV.UK PAYE guidance
HMRC has issued a warning to taxpayers regarding the latest tax refund scams. These scams are targeting individuals via email and SMS messages.
HMRC is currently processing genuine tax refunds for the 2017/18 tax year and the fraudsters are sending scam messages which claim that taxpayers are entitled to a rebate. These messages go on to request that they provide their personal and account details in order to make their claim.
HMRC is keen to stress that it will only ever inform individuals of a tax refund by post or through their employer, and never via email, text messaging or voicemail.
Commenting on the issue, Treasury Minister Mel Stride said
‘We know that criminals will try and use events like the end of the financial year, the self assessment deadline, and the issuing of tax refunds to target the public and attempt to get them to reveal their personal data’.
HMRC is advising taxpayers not to click on any links, download any attachments or provide any personal information, and to forward any suspect messages to HMRC.
Internet link: GOV.UK news
HMRC have announced that they have stopped thousands of taxpayers from receiving scam text messages ‘with 90 percent of the most convincing texts now halted before they reach their phones’.
HMRC’s press release states:
‘Fraudsters alleging to be from HMRC send text messages to unsuspecting members of the public. In these messages they will make false claims, such as suggesting they are due a tax rebate. Messages will usually include links to websites that harvest personal information or spread malware. This can in turn lead to identity fraud and the theft of people’s personal savings.’
HMRC have confirmed that they will never contact taxpayers who are due a tax refund by text message or by email.
HMRC’s Director of Customer Services, Angela MacDonald, said:
‘HMRC is focused on becoming the most digitally advanced tax authority in the world, and a big part of that relates to keeping our customers safe from online scammers.’
‘As email and website scams become less effective, fraudsters are increasingly turning to text messages to con taxpayers. But as these numbers show, we won’t rest until these criminals are out of avenues to exploit.’
‘We have made significant progress is cutting down these types of crime, but one of the most effective ways to tackle it is still to help the public spot the tell-tale signs of fraud.’
To read details of the measures taken by HMRC and other advice on spotting fraud visit the link below.
Internet link: GOV.UK scam-text-messages
HMRC have released the latest list of imaginative excuses made by individuals who failed to submit their self assessment return by 31 January deadline in 2017. Excuses include alien sightings and being too busy touring with a one-man play.
HMRC’s annual list of outlandish excuses is used to publicise the self assessment deadline of 31 January following the end of the tax year. An automatic £100 penalty applies to those who have the obligation to complete a return and miss the filing deadline, regardless of whether the individual has a tax liability to pay or not.
Angela MacDonald, HMRC’s director general of customer services, said:
‘Each year we’re making it easier and more intuitive for our customers to complete their tax return, but each year we still come across some questionable excuses, whether that’s blaming a busy touring schedule or seeing aliens.’
Here are some of the recent excuses:
- I couldn’t file my return on time as my wife has been seeing aliens and won’t let me enter the house.
- I’ve been far too busy touring the country with my one-man play.
- My ex-wife left my tax return upstairs, but I suffer from vertigo and can’t go upstairs to retrieve it.
- My business doesn’t really do anything.
- I spilt coffee on it.
HMRC have also released details of some of the weirdest expense claims which include:
- A three-piece suite for my partner to sit on when I’m doing my accounts.
- Birthday drinks at a Glasgow nightclub.
- Vet fees for a rabbit.
- Hotel room service – for candles and prosecco.
- £4.50 for sausage and chips meal expenses for 250 days.
If you have any queries on tax matters please contact us.
Internet link: GOV.UK news
HMRC have launched a new Trusts Registration Service (TRS), so that trustees can register their trust online and provide information on the beneficial owners of the trust. The new service launched in early July for trustees and replaces the 41G (Trust) paper form, which was withdrawn at the end of April.
Under the existing self assessment rules, the trustees (or their agents) must register details of a trust with HMRC by 5 October of the year after a liability to Income Tax or Capital Gains Tax (CGT) first arises. The registration process, which will need completing via TRS, includes providing information about the beneficiaries of the trust.
In subsequent years, or where the trust is already registered for self assessment, the trustees (or their agent) of either a UK or non-UK trust that incurs a UK tax liability are required to provide beneficial ownership information about the trust, using the TRS, by 31 January following the end of the tax year.
HMRC have advised that agents will be able to register on behalf of trustees from October 2017 and agents and lead trustees can enter updates for changes of circumstances from early 2018.
HMRC have also confirmed that in this first year of TRS there will be no penalty imposed where registration is completed by 5 January 2018 for trusts whose first tax assessment year is 2016/17.
A Self Assessment Trust and Estate Tax Return (SA900) must still be submitted after the end of each tax year, reporting any income and gains. A TRS update is required each year in parallel with income tax returns; however an update is also required when any tax charge arises for example IHT principal charges or SDLT.
From 17 November 2017 the method of registering a trust has been simplified such that an agent can access TRS directly rather than email HMRC for approval to access.
If you would like help or guidance on trusts please contact us.
Internet links: GOV.UK trusts-and-estates GOV.UK news STEP comprehensive guidance STEP FAQs (November 2017)
HMRC have announced the introduction of a new service to directly help mid-sized businesses as they expand and grow. This is to be known as the Growth Support Service.
According to HMRC there are approximately 170,000 mid-sized businesses registered in the UK. The businesses with either a turnover of more than £10 million or more than 20 employees, that are undergoing significant growth, can now seek help from HMRC to access the services they need.
The Financial Secretary to the Treasury Mel Stride said:
‘Mid-sized businesses make vital contribution to the UK economy and I want to see them grow, succeed and prosper.
The Growth Support Service will help these expanding businesses access tailored tax assistance so that tax administration doesn’t stand in the way of their growth and ensures businesses can focus on finding new opportunities.
Businesses who meet the eligibility requirements can apply online; they will then be contacted by their dedicated growth support specialist at HMRC, to discuss their requirements. The bespoke service will generally last between three to six months.’
Smaller business can access the Small Business Online Forum.
Please do contact us for help and support.
Internet link: GOV.UK news