By Mark Jones, director of Carmarthen-based Clay Shaw Butler chartered accountants and business consultants. This column appears in the Pembrokeshire Herald, Carmarthen Herald and Llanelli Herald.
The taxman at 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.
HMRC advises customers to:
- recognise the signs – genuine organisations like banks and HMRC will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your PIN, password or bank details
- stay safe – do not give out private information, reply to text messages, download attachments or click on links in emails you weren’t expecting
- take action – forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to firstname.lastname@example.org and texts to 60599, or contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 to report any suspicious calls or use its online fraud reporting tool
- check GOV.UK for information on how to avoid and report scams and recognise genuine HMRC contact
- if you think you have received an HMRC-related phishing/bogus email or text message, you can check it against the examples shown in this guide
HMRC has taken a range of action to protect the public from scams, including:
- from April 2017 to March 2018, reported 14,631 malicious websites for takedown
- from April 2017 to March 2018, received 771,227 customer phishing email/SMS referrals
- from April 2017 to March 2018, received 1.1 million direct visits to HMRC security pages on GOV.UK
- implemented SMS firewalling – working with industry to deliver a pilot to reduce SMS abuse, resulting in a 90% decrease in reported abuse of protected HMRC SMS tags
Internet link –
In other news, it has previously been reported that the Enterprise Management Incentive scheme State Aid approval lapsed on 6 April 2018.
HMRC had previously warned that EMI share options granted in the period from 7 April 2018 until EU State Aid approval was received may not be eligible for the tax advantages afforded to option holders but have now confirmed the scheme will operate as before.
On 15 May EU approval was granted and HMRC has now confirmed that the Enterprise Management Incentives scheme will continue to operate as before and no changes have therefore been made to the scheme.
The Enterprise Management Incentive (EMI) allows selected employees (often key to the employer) to be given the opportunity to acquire a significant number of shares in their employer through the issue of options.
An EMI can offer significant tax advantages as the scheme allows options to be granted to employees which then allows shares to be acquired without any tax bill arising until the shares are sold.
For more on EMI, see this internet link –
You can find out more about money matters on the Clay Shaw Butler website (under our news for business section) –
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