Guidance

Genuine HMRC contact and recognising phishing emails and texts

Find out how to recognise when contact from HMRC is genuine, and how to recognise phishing or bogus emails and text messages.

Documents

Details

Phishing is the fraudulent act of emailing a person in order to obtain their personal or 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.

This guidance explains how to recognise genuine contact from HMRC, and how to tell when an email or text message is phishing or bogus.

Published 16 January 2015
Last updated 7 December 2018 + show all updates
  1. Section 1.1 Businesses’ views towards HMRC’s digital transformation has been added in both English and Welsh.
  2. The 'Customer survey of individuals, small businesses and agents', and 'Calls to the National Insurance and tax credits helplines - Short Message Service (SMS) text message survey' have been removed because both surveys have ended.
  3. Section 1.1 Basic PAYE tools survey has been added in both English and Welsh.
  4. Debt Enforcement ADT Welsh translation has been added.
  5. Sections 1.1 and 1.2 have been added to give information on the Debt Enforcement ADT letter and electronic point of sales research survey.
  6. New sections 1.1 and 1.2 have been added giving details of Mid-size Business Customer Compliance and Secure Data Exchange Service surveys.
  7. The information about tax credit renewal SMS text has been removed as the tax credit renewal period has now ended.
  8. The section headed 'compliance interventions for midsized businesses, charities or public bodies' has been added.
  9. Section 1.1.1 has been updated with details of a telephone interview survey.
  10. Section 1.11 has been updated with details of a text message survey about National Insurance and tax credits helplines.
  11. New sections 1.1 and 1.1.1 have been added, giving details of 2 stakeholder surveys that begin in September 2018.
  12. Information has been added about emails for Tax-Free Childcare, research to explore and evaluate large business customers’ interaction with HMRC, and the mid-size business customer experience survey 2018.
  13. A new section 1.1 has been added, giving details about a survey of VAT unregistered businesses that will begin in August 2018.
  14. Paragraph 1.7 in English and Welsh about tax credits and the Amazon Alexa skill has been removed.
  15. A new section 1.1 has been added, giving details about a telephone survey of businesses that will begin in August 2018.
  16. New section 1.1 added detailing survey of tax agents between July 2018 and April 2019.
  17. A new section has been added at 1.1, giving details about a customer survey of individuals, small businesses and agents between August 2018 and November 2018.
  18. A new section 1.1 has been added, giving details about a second phase of employee research that is beginning in August 2018.
  19. Information has been added about HMRC contacting overseas business that sell digital services in the UK, and contacting customers who've called the Income Tax or tax credits helplines to complete a text message survey.
  20. English and Welsh versions updated to added section 1.20 Statutory notices requesting information. Section 1.1 for Tax Credits Alexa SMS contact has been added.
  21. The Welsh version has been updated with the new section at 1.4 about emails being sent regarding Help to Save accounts.
  22. A new section has been added at 1.4 about emails that are being sent regarding Help to Save accounts.
  23. A new section has been added at 3.4 about SMS text messages that are being sent relating to tax credits.
  24. New sections have been added at 1.7, 1.8 and 1.9 about SMS text messages that are being sent relating to the National Minimum Wage.
  25. New paragraphs 1.7 and 1.8 have been added about text messages being sent to advise details of National Minimum Wage entitlement.
  26. New section 1.1 has been added, giving details about a new survey of employees that is beginning in May 2018.
  27. New sections 1.1 and 1.2 added about emails being sent about selling goods in the UK through online marketplaces and paying into your Help to Save account.
  28. New 1.1 section added to include information about invitations being sent to employers regarding research about National Insurance contribution relief.
  29. New section at 1.1 Research to explore customer experiences and attitudes to venture capital investments (English) 1.1 Ymchwil i brofiadau a barn cwsmeriaid o fuddsoddiadau cyfalaf mentro (Welsh) has been added.
  30. New sections at 1.1 Annual Tax Summary and 1.2 and 1.3 on National Minimum Wage have been added.
  31. Sections '1.13 Help and support emails', '1.14 Employer email alerts', '1.15 Research into employees non-reimbursed expenses relief - letters' and '2.5 Common greeting' have been updated.
  32. This guidance has been updated at section 1.1, to include information on the research to explore and evaluate large business customers’ interaction with HMRC.
  33. This guidance has been updated to advise that reminder letters and emails are being sent to childcare providers to sign up to Tax-Free Childcare.
  34. This guidance has been updated to include information on the Fraud Investigation roles recruitment exercise.
  35. This guidance has been updated to include information on the current HMRC Customer Survey calls and letters.
  36. This guidance has been updated to include information on how to help us improve government services via email.
  37. Paragraphs 1.6 and 1.12 in English and Welsh has been updated.
  38. This page contains new information about emails sent to customers promoting their Personal Tax Account.
  39. Date of latest employer email alerts has been updated at section 1.13.
  40. The section on tax credits - SMS text or voice prompts has been updated.
  41. The section on Tax-Free Childcare communications has been updated.
  42. This guidance has been updated to include information about the VAT Flat Rate Scheme and amends the section on Tax-Free Childcare.
  43. This guidance has been updated to include information about statutory notice information requests.
  44. New section1.1 'Calls to Self Assessment Online users' has been added. Section 1.12 has been amended to show that the latest batch of emails issued by HMRC will be sent from 13 March 2017.
  45. Both English and Welsh versions have had outdated messages deleted from this page and Employer Bulletin 64 and Research communications have been added to this page.
  46. Paragraph 1.7 in English and Welsh has been updated.
  47. Paragraph 1.6 in English and Welsh has been updated.
  48. Welsh page updated to reflect current information on English page.
  49. Paragraph 1.2 Overseas entities selling e-services in to the UK (English) and 1.2 Endidau tramor sy'n gwerthu e-wasanaethau i mewn i'r DU (Welsh) added.
  50. Paragraph 1.1 tax credits letters (English) and 1.1 Llythyrau credydau treth (Welsh) added.
  51. Information about the Employer Bulletin 62 email has been added to this page.
  52. Information about VAT EU emails has been added to this page.
  53. Numerous amendments have been made throughout the document, particularly to sections 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 and 2.5.
  54. Section '1.1 Tax-Free Childcare Communications' has been amended.
  55. Information about inviting people to register in an early trial of Tax free childcare has been added.
  56. Section '1.1 Tax-Free Childcare Communications' has been added to the page.
  57. Paragraph 1.5 in English and Welsh has been updated.
  58. Information about the Employer Bulletin 60 email has been added to this page.
  59. English and Welsh version of section 1.1 'Short Message Service (SMS) from HMRC about Tax Credits online renewal' and 'Negeseuon Testun gan CThEM ynghylch adnewyddu credydau treth ar-lein' removed.
  60. Updated with new information about genuine contacts from HMRC.
  61. Paragraph 3.3 added to the English and Welsh version.
  62. Paragraph 1.4 in English version and Paragraph 1.3 in Welsh version has been updated.
  63. A section on HM Revenue and Customs text messages has been added.
  64. The 1.3 Employer Bulletin 58 - email section has been updated.
  65. Section added to support agents affected by the recent severe weather.
  66. Updated information on how to tell if an email is fraudulent has been added.
  67. Paragraph 1.12 Annual Tax Summary - email alerts has been added to the page.
  68. Paragraph 1.11.3 VAT debts - email reminders (English) and 1.11.3 Dyledion TAW - negeseuon atgoffa drwy e-bost (Welsh) added to the page.
  69. Section 1.11 VAT emails (English and Welsh) added to the page.
  70. From 2 November 2015 HMRC will be sending out emails to customers inviting them to trial the new Inheritance Tax online private beta service. HMRC needs to advise customers that this is genuine HMRC contact. Hence amendment to section 1.4 to both versions.
  71. Section 1.10 - Inheritance Tax Online registration and application emails has been added to this guidance.
  72. Updated with new information about genuine contacts from HMRC.
  73. Section 1.2 updated with new information about HMRC sending email messages to customers.
  74. Section 1.10 updated with new information about HMRC sending text messages to customers.
  75. Section 1.10 Inheritance Tax Online registration and application email added to the page.
  76. Updated with new information about genuine contacts from HMRC.
  77. Revised guidance on when and how HMRC will contact business customers regarding import and export statistical data - please see paragraph 1.1.
  78. Updated with new information about genuine contacts from HMRC.
  79. Information about tax credits letters from Concentrix has been added to this guidance. The Welsh version will be updated shortly.
  80. Information about Marriage Allowance emails has been added to the Welsh version of this guidance.
  81. Information about Marriage Allowance emails has been added to this guidance. The Welsh version will be updated shortly.
  82. Revised guidance on when and how HM Revenue and Cutoms (HMRC) will contact customers. Please see section 1.1.
  83. HMRC are issuing email alerts inviting some agents to try the 'Agents online self-serve private beta service.
  84. Updated to make customers aware that Employer Alerts / Employer Bulletin 53 is due to be released on Monday 13 April, this is genuine and not phishing.
  85. Information about employer alerts has been added to this page.
  86. HM Revenue and Customs are issuing email alerts advising some customers about their Annual tax summary.
  87. Information added about email reminders HMRC will send for the 2015 Self Assessment deadline.
  88. First published.