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Emails and letters from HMRC

HMRC continues to warn taxpayers about email scams. Phishing emails are used by fraudsters to access recipients’ valuable personal details, such as usernames and passwords. Whilst these messages may appear to be genuine they are potentially dangerous and clicking on a link from within such an email can result in personal information being compromised and the possibility that computer viruses will be downloaded to your computer or smartphone.However, recent guidance published by HMRC clarifies that some email communications are genuine. HMRC is currently sending out letters and emails to businesses that use the VAT Flat Rate Scheme. These communications are genuine and notify businesses about the changes to the scheme taking place from April 2017. Emails from HMRC do not request personal or financial information.HMRC is also sending letters to:Childcare providers inviting them to sign up to Tax-Free Childcare – this follows an earlier campaign in 2016 and targets providers who have not yet signed up to Tax-Free Childcare scheme, and Tax credit recipients asking them to take part in a short telephone survey. These letters are genuine.If you are unsure as to the validity of any email or communication from HMRC it should not be opened until the sender can be verified. HMRC has reiterated many times that they do not send notifications of tax rebates by email nor do they ask recipients to disclose personal or payment information by email.