Avoiding HMRC Scams 

Business woman looking HMRC scam

Avoiding HMRC Scams 

by | Mar 27, 2024

Running a business is stressful and time consuming, especially managing finances. With multiple filings required including Corporation Tax, VAT and PAYE submissions (depending on what your company is registered for), receiving communications from HMRC will come as no surprise.  

However, as explored in Avoiding Companies House Scams, these communications may be scammers targeting your business. In this blog, we will review current HMRC scams and how to protect your company.  


HMRC will send letters to you for various reasons including your company’s Unique Tax Reference (UTR), reminders to file and pay your Corporation Tax bills and penalties for late payments. However, fraudsters will try and take advantage by sending you fake letters that may coincide with deadlines, in the hopes that they will appear more genuine.  

If you are unsure if the letter you received is genuine or a scam, be sure to check the letter for the following, as these are the giveaways that a letter could be fake:  

  • Basic spelling errors – any containing errors will be scams. 
  • Does the envelope have the HMRC logo and correct return address listed? 
  • HMRC will never ask for your personal information or bank account details – if any of these are included, it is a scam. 


Calculating the exact amount of tax you need to pay to HMRC can be confusing at times, so receiving an email notifying you that you have overpaid and are eligible for a tax rebate seems like a dream come true.  

People are much more receptive to emails claiming they are owed money, which is what the fraudsters are counting on. HMRC specifies that they will never email you to notify you of any refunds owed to you.  

If you receive an email of this nature claiming to be from HMRC, make sure:  

  • To check the email address it came from as this may not be a legitimate HMRC email. Scammers are getting more sophisticated, and can clone email addresses, so even if the email address seems genuine be on your guard. If the email contents seem unusual and you are not expecting anything from HMRC, be aware it may be a scam. 
  • Not to click on any links included in the email or scan any QR codes. 
  • You do not respond with any personal information, including your name, date of birth and bank account details. 
  • To forward the email onto HMRC at [email protected] straight away and delete the email from your inbox.  

Telephone calls, texts and WhatsApp messages 

The most common themes for scam telephone calls, texts or WhatsApp messages claiming to be from HMRC are that you are owed money from HMRC, or that a warrant has been issued for your arrest due to unpaid taxes. HMRC will never contact you by telephone or text to notify you of rebates and will never ask for your bank details.  

Calls or messages claiming there is a warrant out for your arrest are used to frighten you, urging you to act on this ‘time sensitive’ matter. This usually takes the form of encouraging you to pay a deposit of the debt that you supposedly owe to stop the proceedings going any further. It is important to note that no warrants will be issued for non-payment of taxes, but the matter would escalate to debt collection agencies. HMRC will always send you a letter first for any monies owed before escalating the matter of non-payment.  

If you receive a communication of this type, be sure: 

  • To check the number these came from – if it is a mobile number this is not from HMRC. 
  • To be cautious of a phone number even if it appears to be from HMRC – phone numbers can be cloned. If on the phone to someone, hang up and call HMRC back on the number listed on their official website. 
  • Not to call any number provided in a voicemail – this will not be to an official HMRC department. 
  • Not to fall for their pressure tactics. Although the thought of accidentally committing an offense against HMRC may be frightening, do not let this panic you into sharing personal information. Hang up the telephone and if you are worried about anything, and call HMRC directly. No HMRC worker will try and force you to stay on the phone if you would prefer to hang up and call them back.  

If you are unsure of the legitimacy of any communications, always be cautious and report anything suspicious directly to HMRC, this way they can investigate. You can check for outstanding filings or balances by logging in to your online HMRC account or call them directly. If you employ the services of an accountant, speak to them to confirm whether all taxes are up to date. 

For a more detailed description of HMRC scams, click here

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