Is it really from HMRC?

By Steven Pinhey, Tax Director

HMRC has updated its guidance explaining how to recognise genuine contact from HMRC, and how to tell when an email/text message is phishing /bogus.

Phishing is the fraudulent act of emailing a person in order to obtain their personal/financial information such as passwords and credit card or bank account details. These emails often include a link to a bogus website encouraging you to enter your personal details.

The guidance has been updated because from 24 October, HMRC will be contacting tax credit customers asking if they are willing to take part in a short telephone survey about how they, the customer, report changes to HMRC.

Calls will be made from a private number and will be completed by 9 December.

However, the guidance also covers such areas as:

  • How HMRC communicate regarding tax credits,
  • VAT,
  • Educational emails,
  • Debt management
  • Together with further information on how to tell if an email is fraudulent and how to report suspected phishing/bogs emails.

And reminds us that emails from HMRC will never:

  • Notify you of a tax rebate
  • Offer you a repayment
  • Ask you to disclose personal information such as your full address, postcode, Unique Taxpayer Reference or details of your bank account
  • Give a non HMRC personal email address to send a response to
  • Ask for financial information such as specific figures or tax computations, unless you have given their prior consent and you’ve formally accepted the risks
  • Have attachments, again unless you’ve formally accepted the risks
  • Provide a link to a secure log-in page or a form asking for information

The link guidance can be accessed at:

If you have concerns about an email or documentation that you have received purportedly from HMRC and would like further advice please contact Steven Pinhey our head of Tax Disputes and Resolutions and he would be happy to advise further.  Steven can be contacted on 020 7490 7766 or email

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