Beware of the fraudsters

As we near the end of the self-assessment silly season, we all need to be aware of the increased efforts of the fraudsters. A client recently received the following email and asked me if it was legitimate:

When receiving emails like this the golden rule is, ‘if it is to good to be true, it usually is.’ However there are some very quick and easy things to look at to determine the legitimacy of the email:

1. Who sent the email? – any emails from HMRC will end However you need to be careful, as the from address can be falsified to look like it is coming from HMRC when it is not. Never rely solely on this for determining the legitimacy of an email address.

2. Reference number – does the reference number match your tax reference numbers? HMRC will always tell you which tax is being refunded such as VAT, self assessment etc. You will notice in this instance there is no reference to which tax is being refunded.

3. Are you expecting a refund? Your accountant should always tell you when you are due a refund and why. If your accountant has not mentioned a refund then it is probably not legitimate. We love giving our clients good news and tax refunds are always good news!

4. Never follow the link on the email. Rather, login into your Government Gateway (HMRC Online) account and see if the refund is mentioned there.

HMRC have produced a very good guide on genuine HMRC communications and recognising phishing emails. It can be found at

If you have any questions or have received an email like this, please feel free to contact us and we will help you sort it out.

Posted on: January 12, 2017, by : Cameron Pitchford