HMRC warns on tax scams amid call for focus on non-compliant advisers

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HMRC warns on tax scams amid call for focus on non-compliant advisers

HMRC is warning taxpayers about self-assessment related scams including phone calls, letters and emails from fraudsters.

But the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) is calling on HMRC focus on the 30% non-compliant tax advisers.

In the last year, HMRC responded to 800,000 reports of suspicious contact made by the public - around 360,000 of these offered bogus tax rebates.

HMRC has successfully used technology to prevent huge numbers of emails and texts from reaching the public and has taken action to prevent spoofing of HMRC phone numbers but the level of fraudulent activity continues to increase.

This week, HMRC is sending more than four million genuine emails and texts offering reminders and guidance on self assessment; these do not include any links, offer refunds, demand urgent transfer of funds or request personal information.

Taxpayers should take particular care to avoid bogus websites designed to make them pay for help in submitting tax returns or charging to connect them to HMRC phone lines.

Meanwhile, the ICAEW is calling on HMRC to work with them and use its code of conduct and ethics to improve standards so the tax authority can focus on areas of the tax system, including advisers, who present a higher risk profile.

It said HMRC should focus on 30% of non-compliant tax advisers.