HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is preparing to distribute more than half-a-million (650,000) emails to unrepresented taxpayers with outstanding 2013-14 self-assessment tax returns ahead of the 31st January filing deadline.
HMRC is specifically target emails at individuals who don’t use a tax agent to help file their tax return and may have forgotten about the impending deadline.
The tax authority is using email address it holds for self-assessment customers who file online to get in contact and warn them of the instant £100 late filing penalty for returns filed on 1st February onwards.
The emails will not contain any confidential information and are not a two-way email service. Recipients will not be able to respond directly to HMRC’s communication.
If you think you may have received an HMRC-related phishing/bogus email, you can check it against some of the many examples HMRC shows in its PDF guide.
How to tell if your HMRC email is genuine
Individuals are encouraged to report all HMRC-related phishing emails straight to HMRC. Even if you receive the same or similar phishing email on a number of occasions, HMRC urges you to forward it to [email protected] and then delete it.
Do not open any attachments or click on any links contained within an email, as they may contain malicious software.
HMRC’s ‘Three-Point Protocol’ has been developed to help taxpayers differentiate the genuine emails from the phishing ones:
HMRC emails to its customers will only contain: generic reminders, e.g. to file your tax return and pay your bill by 31 January; notifications about a key change or event, e.g. you have made a payment or your tax code has changed.
HMRC emails will never include: financial information, such as details of outstanding payments or tax refunds; active links to a customer’s account, log-on pages, iForms; active links to sites outside HMRC or GOV.UK; attachments
HMRC emails will always include the department’s logo and the customer’s full name, as held on its records.