The civil service for central Government is now in “purdah”, which means there will be no significant Government announcements until after the EU referendum on 23 June 2016. This is holding up the publication of key tax consultations, particularly on Making Tax Digital. In the meantime there is a problem with GPs’ pensions you need to be aware of. We also have news of a pilot scheme for VAT compliance visits, and a warning about fraudsters claiming to be from HMRC.

This is an
extract from our topical tax tips newsletter dated 2 June
2016 (5 days before we publish an extract on this blog). You can obtain future issues by registering here>>>

Beware HMRC scammers 
Fraudsters are using threats and intimidation in phone calls to taxpayers and accountants, as they pretend to be collecting tax debts on behalf of HMRC. This is not surprising as the HMRC-approved debt collectors can be threatening and unreasonable at times. 
  
The latest calls and text messages claim there is an outstanding tax debt, and that payment must be made immediately or the police will arrest the individual. The fraudsters are able to use technology to pretend to be calling from a genuine HMRC call-centre telephone number, in this case: 0300 200 3300. You should not trust the number shown on your telephone’s display as it can easily be spoofed. 
  
The fraudulent caller normally attempts to obtain credit or debit card details, and may give her name as Heather Grey of HMRC. There is no such person within HMRC. In another twist the taxpayer may be asked to pay the tax debt in the form of gift card vouchers from iTunes or Argos. This sounds incredible, but some people are falling for this scam. Gift cards can be easily redeemed or sold on. 
  
Please warn your clients about these scams, especially those individuals who are new to self-employment and haven’t dealt directly with HMRC before. HMRC never use text messages to ask for payment. 
  
If you or your clients have suffered an attempted fraud, report it to Action Fraud (National Fraud and Cyber Crime unit) on 0300 123 2040 or by using the online fraud reporting tool.   
   

This is an
extract from our topical tax tips newsletter dated 2 June
2016 (5 days before we publish an extract on this blog). You can obtain future issues by registering here>>>
 
The
full newsletter contained links to related source material for this
story and the
other two topical, timely and commercial tax tips. We’ve been
publishing this newsletter weekly since 2007; it’s clearly written
and focused on precisely what accountants in general practice need to
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