HMRC spreads some positive news to beleaguered businesses
HMRC has set up a dedicated helpline to help businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) receive support with their tax affairs.
Any business or self-employed individual with concerns about paying their tax due to COVID-19 to get practical help and advice. HMRC has redeployed approx2,000 staff to support businesses and individuals when needed.
For those who are unable to pay due to COVID-19 HMRC can discuss their specific circumstances to explore:
• agreeing an instalment arrangement
• suspending debt collection proceedings
• cancelling penalties and interest where taxpayers have administrative difficulties contacting or paying HMRC immediately
The helpline number is 0800 0159 559 – and it is an addition to other HMRC phone contact numbers.
Opening hours are Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm, and Saturday 8am to 4pm. The helpline will not be available on Bank Holidays.
While fraudsters try to cash in
As the number of COVID-19 infections continues to rise in the UK, fraudsters have adapted phishing emails in an attempt to lure vulnerable taxpayers with the promise of a tax refund from HMRC. Researchers at Mimecast, an online security company, have recorded hundreds of texts or emails containing a link that directs recipients to a fake website bearing an HMRC logo. The website claims that as a precaution against Covid-19, the government has established a new tax refund programme for dealing with the coronavirus outbreak. According to the fraudulent website, the precaution measure was established “in cooperation with National Insurance and National Health Services” and enables the recipient to receive a tax rebate. The website encourages victims to share their name, address, phone number, mother’s maiden name and bank card number — details that would equip a fraudster with enough information to access a victim’s bank account or purchase a financial product in their name.
HMRC will never ask for this sort of information by telephone or email.