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As the deadline for submitting self-assessment tax returns for the 2022-2023 tax year approaches on 31 January 2024, approximately 12 million people are expected to file their returns. However, this deadline also presents an opportunity for scammers to exploit unsuspecting individuals.

Between September 2022 and September 2023, HMRC received over 130,000 reports of tax scams, with 58,000 cases involving fake tax rebate offers. HMRC is issuing a warning, urging customers to remain cautious and vigilant.

Scammers often impersonate HMRC, reaching out through emails, phone calls, and texts, mimicking official government messages to appear genuine. They may offer fake rebates, request updates to tax details, or even threaten arrest for alleged tax evasion. It’s crucial to be alert and question unexpected communications. Take the time to verify any suspicious contact by checking HMRC’s official scam advice on GOV.UK.

Fraudsters specifically target self-assessment customers, counting on them to be more receptive to HMRC-related messages. Customers might receive scam texts, emails, or calls claiming to offer a ‘refund’ or demanding unpaid taxes, all designed to appear as legitimate HMRC communications. Even those who haven’t filed a self-assessment return before might be tricked into revealing personal or financial information.

HMRC is committed to safeguarding the public from these scams. In the past year, they received 60,000 reports of phone scams and took down 25,000 malicious websites. The department actively disputes and takes control of HMRC-branded internet domains to prevent fraudulent activities. Since 2017, over 183 websites offering low-value services have been recovered, saving the public millions of pounds.

For the 2022-2023 tax year, remember that paper tax returns must be filed by 31 October 2023, and online submissions must be completed by 31 January 2024. If you file your returns online via GOV.UK, ensure you never share your HMRC login details. Sharing this information could result in theft or fraudulent claims on your behalf. Stay vigilant, protect your personal information, and report any suspicious activity to HMRC.