Tax season is always a little chaotic, isn't it? Between trying to track down those lost receipts and making sure we've accounted for every penny earned, there's also the looming threat of scams. And this year, the scammers are out in full force ...
Criminals are the great pretenders and they're getting craftier with their tactics, sending us fake government messages that look so real!
HMRC recently sounded the alarm bells. While there's some good news that the total number of scams has decreased compared to 2022, there's still a significant number of fraudsters out there trying to deceive the unsuspecting taxpayer.
"Just in the past year, over 130,000 tax scams have been reported!"
A whopping 58,000 of these were offering enticing, yet completely bogus, tax rebates, but if you think the HMRC is sitting back and letting these fraudsters have their way, think again. They've been proactive, addressing 60,000 phone scam reports and taking down 25,000 malicious websites. But they can't do it alone, and that's where we come in.
Criminals are the great pretenders and they're getting craftier with their tactics, sending us fake government messages that look so real. But if you get an unexpected email, text, or call claiming to be from HMRC, remember to double-check its authenticity.
Are you curious about how to report these dubious communications? It's simple:
Got a shady text? Forward it to 60599
Dodgy email? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
An unsolicited call? Report it directly on gov.uk
Now, to the meatier bits: If this tax year is the first time you're submitting a self-assessment tax return because you've started a side hustle, jumped into the cryptocurrency market, or rented out your home on Airbnb, you must register in advance for self-assessment.
If you're an influencer, an eBay trader, or work in the gig economy, the self-assessment tax return is for you too. Remember, the magic number is £1,000. If your earnings exceed this, a tax return is essential.
"Don't forget about capital gains tax on crypto sales and the higher rate child benefit charge for earners with income over £50,000!"
Now, I know what you're thinking: "But the deadline's not until January!" True, but why wait? Filing early is a win-win. You either get a refund early (yay!) or you'll know exactly how much tax you owe and have ample time to prepare. But if you're feeling a bit overwhelmed, don't worry. HMRC has got your back with tons of resources like video tutorials, digital assistants, and community forums.
If you reckon you don't need to complete a self-assessment tax return this year, just inform HMRC before the 31 January 2024 deadline to steer clear of any penalties. And remember, if you're going old-school with a paper return, the deadline passed yesterday (31st October), but for the tech-savvy among us, the online deadline is 31 January 2024.
Just don't get caught out by any scammers.
Until next time ...
Would you like to know more?
If anything I've written in this blog post resonates with you and you'd like to discover more about tax scams and how to spot them, it may be a great idea to give me a call on 01908 774323 and let's see how I can help you.
Helen brings the personal tax planning experience of the top 20 tax companies to Essendon. Formerly of MacIntyre Hudson (with 45 offices nationwide), Helen worked at Chancery for more than 10 years before joining Essendon as the personal tax specialist.
Tax Planning can make a considerable difference to your tax liability. Helen has specialist knowledge and experience in tax planning and uses every opportunity to minimise your tax bill is utilised. By analysing your investments, income, profit and expenditures, Helen will provide strategic tax planning expertise that could offer significant savings, whilst delivering clear, honest advice and guidance.
When Helen is not at Essendon she spends time with her young son and likes going on long walks with the family dog.
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