Business owners have been warned they could face extra security checks before they receive any tax repayments that may be due.
Keshia Williams, Tax Assistant here at Dyke Yaxley, says HM Revenue and Customs had introduced tighter rules governing the self-assessment process.
“HMRC already carry out routine checks to ensure any claims they receive are genuine, but now they have stepped up their scrutiny procedures.
“If they suspect the person or the claim may not be legitimate, they will now send a letter out to confirm the taxpayer’s identity.”
Keshia says HMRC was corresponding directly with taxpayers as it was concerned about potential fraud, and copies of the letters would not be sent to the person’s financial advisers or accountants.
“If the person has submitted the repayment claim, HMRC will ask them to call within 30 days, and to send the necessary information and documents as soon as possible to avoid any delays to the repayment if it is agreed.
“But if HMRC doesn’t hear from the claimant, they will cancel the repayment claim and close down that person’s self-assessment record altogether.
“By taking this action, they prevent the record from being used in future for further repayment claims, for potential fraud under Covid-19 support schemes, or for any other fraudulent activity across HMRC and the Department for Work and Pensions.”
Keshia says currently the letter asks for the requested information to be sent to HMRC by post, but they are looking at alternative delivery methods that may be more secure.
“Anyone who is concerned about the security of their documents should send good quality copies using the delivery service that you feel is the safest possible – that way HMRC will not need to return any documentation once the process is complete and the copies sent to them will be safely destroyed after 50 days.”
Keshia Williams, Tax Assistant