HMRC can call you about compliance checks

HMRC has recently updated its guidance on ‘genuine contact vs phishing scams’ to include a new section entitled ‘compliance interventions for midsized businesses, charities or public bodies’.

The guidance is intended to keep taxpayers up-to-date with phishing scams, as they come to light, and help them to differentiate between genuine contact and bogus communications.

The latest update confirms that HMRC may contact charities, via telephone, regarding compliance checks.

There are a few steps that charities and other bodies can take to confirm that the call is legitimate; such as requesting that the caller send an email to confirm their identity and their address. Email addresses should begin with the employee’s name and end in @hmrc.gsi.gov.uk.

However, it’s worth noting that perpetrator’s methods of defrauding victims are becoming more sophisticated all the time. Though the address may appear legitimate upon receipt of the email, you may end up replying to a fake address.

If you are in any way unsure, you can also call the appropriate general enquiry helpline to corroborate requests for:

  • VAT for businesses;
  • tax for employers; and
  • Corporation Tax for limited companies

When calling, you should have your VAT registration number, employer reference or 10-digit Unique Tax Reference number to hand.

HMRC has also said that, when calling to arrange telephone interviews, they may ask for business records to be sent by post or electronically, via a secure platform.

If you are the recipient of communications that you believe to be suspicious, HMRC advises you to:

  • Know the signs – Banks and HMRC will not contact you unexpectedly to ask for PIN numbers, password or bank details.
  • Stay safe – Do not disclose private information, reply to text messages, download attachments or click on links in emails you were not expecting.
  • Act – Forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk and texts to 60599. You can also contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 to report suspicious calls or use its online fraud reporting tool.
  • Check GOV.UK for information on how to avoid and report scams and recognise genuine HMRC contact.

To find out more about how we might be able to help your charity or not-for-profit organisation, contact our team today.

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