back to article UK tax collectors warn contractors about being ripped-off – and not by HMRC for a change

The UK’s tax authorities have issued an official warning to contractors to watch out for self-assessment scams - and they don’t mean IR35 for a change. According to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), fraudsters see self-employed individuals as a good target and are pulling off a wide variety of cons around purported tax …

  1. robidy

    Well that's a crap way to warn people.

    They need a celebrity who can take on the persona of a self employed person to front a national TV campaign.

    Perhaps they could approach Lorraine Kelly and see if she's self employed and has some time in her schedule (assuming ITV don't object) ha ha.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If they were really serious they'd paste the warning on the side of a bus. Or change HMRC's Twitter account name.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      ...or Danny Dyer.

      "Dahn't listen to these fackin nawty pwicks".

  2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Makes a change...

    from the usual

    "There are serious legal procedings being taken against you by HMRC..." (or words to that effect)

    scam calls that come throuought the year.

    I have to wonder if the people voicing these message have a concience at all?

    Nah. Don't be an idiot. They are doing to get rid of an HMRC tax demand.

    1. simonlb Silver badge

      Re: Makes a change...

      'There are serious legal proceedings being taken against you by HMRC...'

      I think the phrase 'serious legal proceedings' is a bit too formal; can we not have 'lighthearted legal proceedings' or 'mildly distracting legal proceedings' instead?

  3. Blazde
    Facepalm

    Giving the bad dudes ideas

    Next year they'll be running scams with mindbogglingly confusing, contradictory pages filled with turgid text as well..

    Q 26. Do you want to give all your money to a scammer?

    [ ] Yes [ ] Maybe

    Only tick Maybe if you have also completed and attached form K5368-P or K5368-Y, included the appropriate documentation and signed declaration of non-liability, were born before April 6th 1912 and are currently a Lloyd's underwriter.

    (Oh shit I spent 6 hours doing form K5368-Y before reading the last bit)

  4. Yet Another Hierachial Anonynmous Coward

    Lacking common sense....

    Maybe if they did not insist on having your email and phone number, and instead only ever contacted "customers" by snail-mail then all these scam calls and mails would be shown up for what they are.

    While they insist on data-slurping all your contact details, they are leaving everyone wide open to this abuse.

    1. Halfmad Silver badge

      Re: Lacking common sense....

      Snail mail isn't secure nor is it overly reliable these days.

      So yeah, same as e-mail.

      1. Yet Another Hierachial Anonynmous Coward

        Re: Lacking common sense....

        Agreed, but sending fraud stuff through snail mail takes effort and costs time/money. It's not easy to scale.

        Sending fraud stuff through phone/email is cheap and simple and easy to scale to get that .0001% hit rate.

    2. d3vy Silver badge

      Re: Lacking common sense....

      They dont sent demands for money etc via email or phone.

      Ive been contracting for 5 years now, most of my family are self employed... The only emails I get are reminders that I need to fill in a VAT return and the occasional newsletter and thats only because I opted in.

      All other communications come via post and are copied to my accountant so I generally ignore them unless the accountant mails me.

  5. Richard Scratcher

    Taxed Adventure Games

    Some of these fake websites are well crafted and very convincing. They employ the same hyperlink system of blind alleys and closed loops as the real HMRC web maze.

  6. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    "It’s not Chris Tarrant, it’s the flaming taxman. Get a grip."

    Too bloody right.

  7. katrinab Silver badge
    Meh

    HMRC do sometimes send refunds without prompting

    What they do is send you it in the form of an obsolete payment instrument known as a "cheque".

    This happened to me about 5 years ago. A dodgy ex-employer didn't report my salary to HMRC or pay the tax on it, so they thought my other income which I paid basic rate tax on was covered by my personal allowance, when it wasn't, and refunded the tax I paid on it.

    I wrote to them to say they had made a mistake, and they should probably ask for the money back. They ignored the letter. Which means I can now legally keep the money.

    I've found that a lot of younger people have never seen a cheque before and don't know what to do with it. You have to take it to *your* bank, not necessarily the bank the cheque was drawn on, to pay it into your account. There are a few banks that let you pay in cheques by taking a photo of it with your phone "B" is one such bank that offers this.

    1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      Re: HMRC do sometimes send refunds without prompting

      Last time I had to pay a cheque in the bloody counter staff kept trying to make me use one of their machines. Why have a dedicated member of staff pointing you away from the queue (They all bleeding do it!), maybe if said person was behind the counter the queue wouldn't be so long.

      1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: HMRC do sometimes send refunds without prompting

        We have a dedicated member of staff pointing you away from the queue (They all bleeding do it!), maybe if the rest of the team weren't all at lunch (The ones that are left drew the short straw) the queue wouldn't be so long.

        FTFY

        Icon - You stupid boy!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: HMRC do sometimes send refunds without prompting

        Make a stand and refuse to leave the queue, the entertainment factor alone is worth it. I deeply resent there being a staff member standing out front waiting for new victims when there is a queue, I left my last bank for that reason.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: HMRC do sometimes send refunds without prompting

      Ok, boomer.

  8. Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

    Like (I would expect) others here, I get a variety of notifications of my tax rebate. Some of them from authorities to whom never paid tax in the first place: most commonly the US IRS.

    Separately, I also get a genuine tax rebate from HMRC most years: the biggest have been in the £10k ballpark - which is more than I earn in a less-good year! Those just arrive automatically in my bank account, without any need for a claim beyond filling out my self-assessment.

    Talking of which, I need to do that. Haven't hurried this year's tax return, 'cos the rebate will be peanuts - as in ballpark £10 without the k.

  9. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    To be fair to HMRC...

    "They are not going to give you money without you working for it, my friend. "

    To be fair to HMRC, my experience over the last 10 years or so has always been positive if I've been due a refund. After the online SA calculation is produced, and if a refund is due I am asked to input my sort code and bank account number, and then the money has always been in my account within 7 days 'ish.

    No real work or fighting has ever been needed.

  10. Phil Endecott Silver badge

    > if someone contacts you offering a tax rebate, it’s just not going to be true

    > because in the rare event you do have one, you are going to have to grip it

    > with both hands and pull it out the clenched fist of the Inland Revenue.

    I suppose that’s supposed to be funny, but really it’s just unhelpful. HMRC do proactively tell people who’ve paid too much tax, e.g. due to more than one PAYE job with confused tax codes. If you ignore the letter they will eventually post a cheque.

    1. JimC

      And what's more

      When I've had extra tax to pay on non PAYE income the process has been remarkably painless.

  11. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
    Boffin

    I Know I Did But,

    don't we all just forward stuff to our accountants?

    Icon - Mainwaring again!

  12. FlamingDeath

    I'm surprised...

    The Vogons managed to get a message out to their victims at all

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