As part of the ongoing efforts to tackle internet phishing and scams, HMRC regularity updates their list of genuine reasons for communication. It includes any planned surveys and research projects along with details on how the HMRC or another agency will contact you and what information it will ask for. It’s important that we all stay vigilant to protect our finances as well as personal details or any other sensitive information, so here are some of the most recent updates:

Tax Credits 2019 Renewals text message campaign

HMRC is contacting some customers who claim tax credits by text message asking them to call the Tax Credit Helpline regarding their renewal. These customers have already submitted their renewal however the information supplied differs to what HMRC hold. This contact is an attempt to rectify any issues quickly and process the renewal correctly.

When: Ongoing
How: Text message
Is it compulsory: Yes, in order to keep your Tax Credits and avoid any fines, please contact the helpline to update your details and make sure your information is correct.

IFF Research customer experience survey
HMRC is working with IFF Research, an external supplier, who will conduct the customer experience survey. This is an online survey to understand what experiences parents and providers have had with:

the Childcare Service
Tax-Free Childcare
the 30 hours free childcare policy
When: November and December 2019
How: Online survey link
Is it compulsory: No

Large Business Survey
HMRC is working with independent research agency IFF Ltd. They are carrying out a Large Business Survey, an annual survey of the largest HMRC customers. The survey monitors large businesses’ experience of dealing with HMRC and how their relationship changes over time. It also assesses the impact that various changes and initiatives have had and is used to identify how services could be improved.

You may receive a letter from IFF Ltd about the research, and a telephone call inviting you take part in an interview. The interview will last approximately 20 minutes.

When: Ongoing till end of December 2019
How: Letter and phone call
Is it compulsory: No

Research on the role of communications in helping people get their tax right first time

HMRC will work with independent agency Jigsaw Research. They will carry out research with customers who are:

sole traders
own micro or small businesses
earn additional income alongside PAYE
This research aims to look at the role communications can play in helping people get their tax right first time.

When: December 2019
How: Phone call
Is it compulsory to take part: No

Independent research letters and understanding customer perceptions of HMRC communications
HMRC will work with independent research agency Ipsos MORI, who will carry out research with customers to understand their perceptions of HMRC communications.

When: October and November 2019
How: A letter or email
Is it compulsory: No

Research into the needs of charitable organisations in relation to tax

HMRC is working with an independent research agency. Ipsos MORI will carry out interviews to understand how charitable organisations are structured and how they make decisions around their finances and tax affairs. This will help HMRC improve the support they give with topics such as Gift Aid and tax relief.

When: October and November 2019
How: A letter or telephone call
Is it compulsory: No

Making Tax Digital for business VAT service email questionnaire

HMRC may contact some businesses by email who have signed-up to the Making Tax Digital for Business VAT service.

The email will include a link to a questionnaire asking for feedback on the sign-up and submissions process. The exercise will take roughly 5 minutes to complete and is completely voluntary.

When: Throughout Autumn 2019
How: Email
Is it compulsory: No 

As your trusted local accountancy firm, we do our best to help protect your finances. We would advise our clients to always check if the communication is genuine and never to pass any sensitive details during an unexpected phone call.

And remember, 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’ve given us prior consent and you’ve formally accepted the risks
have attachments, unless you’ve given prior consent and you’ve formally accepted the risks
You can report any phishing calls, emails and text messages on HMRC website: