Tax payers warned of Covid scams

Mar 10, 2021 | Coronavirus Updates

Self-employed tax payers who have missed out on Government support during the pandemic could now qualify for grant funding.

But our tax team here at Dyke Yaxley are warning entrepreneurs who may be desperate for help that they need to beware of an increase in Covid-related scams.

Martyn Bramwell, Tax Manager, says during his Budget speech, Chancellor Rishi Sunak clarified the criteria for the fourth SEISS grant and announced there would be a fifth and final payment being made.

“The fourth payment will also be available to some tax payers who previously did not qualify for a grant, and they are people who became self-employed during the 2019/20 tax year.

“In order to protect the application procedure from fraud, HM Revenue and Customs will write to around 100,000 of these tax payers to ask them to complete pre-verification checks to confirm their identity and provide evidence of their trading situation.

“The tax payers will receive a letter in the coming weeks which sets out the process that will start with a telephone call from HMRC within the following ten working days – this will come from a withheld unknown number so may not be immediately obvious, but they will call you on the number you included on your self-assessment tax return.

“They will then be asked to confirm their email address and agree to receive a link to a secure Dropbox account, and will have two days to upload three months’ worth of bank statements, as well as a form of ID.”

Martyn says HMRC would try to call a tax payer up to three times, and if unsuccessful, they would write again, but any tax payer who received a letter and failed to complete the checks would be unable to claim the grant.

“There are many Covid-19 related scams currently circulating on email and via telephone calls as criminals attempt to prey on businesses and individuals who have been decimated by the pandemic.

“So it is vital that you stay vigilant – and if you’re unsure, remember that HMRC will only call you about this between 8.30am and 5.30pm, they will only ask you to provide an email address to receive the link, and will never ask for your bank details.”

Martyn Bramwell, Tax Manager


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