HMRC recently reported that 10.7 million customers submitted their self-assessment tax returns before the 31st January deadline. Around 9.9 million were apparently submitted through the department’s online service, which amounts to over 92.5% of total returns.
Submitting a tax return online has a number of advantages, such as automatic calculations, quicker processing and the immediate confirmation of your submission, with no worry about your return being lost in the post.
However, although automatic tax calculations can be helpful, they also need to be treated with caution. There have been instances of errors arising in these calculations, leading to people paying the incorrect amount of tax. HMRC is aware of the need to fix these errors but some continue to exist, and therefore you should remain vigilant and double check any automatically calculated figures that appear to differ from what you expected.
Another issue to be aware of in your dealings with HMRC is the risk of falling victim to a scam.
These scams are often committed by fraudsters alleging to be from HMRC sending text messages that make false claims, such as suggesting the recipient is due a tax rebate. Messages will usually include links to websites that harvest personal information or spread malware. This can in turn lead to identity fraud and the theft of people’s personal savings.
HMRC launched a pilot scheme in April 2017 to combat these messages, through the use of new technology that identifies fraud texts and stops them from being delivered. This has led to a reduction in the number of fraudulent texts being received, but fraudsters will always find new ways to commit their crimes and the need for vigilance remains.
HMRC says it will never contact customers who are due a tax refund by text message or by email, and so any contact of this nature should always be treated with caution.
At Murray Beith Murray, we are more than just tax practitioners - we are trusted advisors. We are dedicated to helping our clients solve problems and preserve their wealth. Our highly personal service reflects our culture, which is centred on integrity, trust and expertise, and the guidance we provide has been designed to be an investment, not an expense. For more information, please contact us today.