Guidance

Check a list of genuine HMRC contacts

Check recent contacts from HMRC to help you decide if a suspicious email, phone call, text or letter could be a scam.

This guide contains a list of emails, phone calls, letters and text messages recently issued by HMRC. Use it to help you decide if a contact is genuine or from a fraudster trying to get your personal information.

Phone calls

Research and Development (R&D) relief phone calls

From October 2020 to January 2021, HMRC will work with independent agency Kantar. They will carry out research with businesses who have applied for R&D relief within the past two years.

You may receive a phone call from Kantar Research, inviting you to take part.

The research aims to look at the customer journey and decision-making processes involved in making R&D relief claims to help businesses get their applications right first time.

Taking part is voluntary. If you choose to take part, all of your answers will be confidential and any information is for research purposes only.

HMRC will not be able to identify the businesses that take part, or their individual answers. If you do not wish to take part, you do not need to do anything.

Phone call about compliance checks for mid-sized businesses, charities or public bodies

HMRC may contact customers to arrange a compliance check interview to take place by telephone.

When calling to arrange telephone interviews, we may also ask for business records to be sent by post or electronically, by a secure platform.

You can check if requests are genuine by asking the HMRC staff member to send an email while you are on the call, to confirm their identity. Their email address should start with their name and end in @hmrc.gov.uk.

You can also call the relevant general enquiry helpline to check requests for:

When you call, you’ll need to have either your:

  • VAT registration number
  • employer reference
  • 10 digit Unique Tax Reference

Research phone calls with road haulier businesses

Between October and November 2020, HMRC will be working with an independent research agency, IFF Research Ltd.

The agency will be carrying out in-depth research interviews with road haulier businesses (road hauliers, freight forwarders, and logistics companies) who move goods between the UK and the EU to assess their preparedness for the end of the transition period and how they use/will use technologies to assist them.

You may receive a call from IFF Research Ltd informing you of the research, and inviting you to take part in an interview lasting approximately 60 minutes.

Participation in this research is voluntary. If you choose to take part, all of your answers will be confidential.

HMRC will not be able to identify the businesses that take part, or their individual answers. Any information you provide for this study will be used for research purposes only.

Phone calls to registered VAT businesses which are mandated to use Making Tax Digital (MTD) software to submit their VAT returns

You may be called by HMRC from August 2020 if the information we hold suggests that you should have signed up to MTD for VAT.

VAT registered businesses with taxable turnover above the VAT threshold (£85,000) are now required to follow the MTD rules by keeping digital records and using software to submit their VAT returns.

During the call we will offer you help and support about complying with these rules, including how to sign up to MTD for VAT if you have not already done so.

MTD is a key part of the government’s plans to make it easier for individuals and businesses to get their tax right and keep on top of their affairs.

Phone calls about employment and the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage

HMRC will sometimes contact customers by telephone to discuss current, or previous employment details.

If you are contacted, HMRC will make it clear the call relates to a National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage enquiry. You’ll be asked basic questions about current working, or previous employment experiences.

HMRC will complete some standard security questions but will not ask for any financial information. You’ll be given the option to request that your current or previous employer are not informed about the phone call.

Phone calls to Job Retention Scheme claimants affected by coronavirus (COVID-19)

HMRC is phoning some employers who have made claims to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for furloughed workers to:

  • discuss their claims
  • check they have not made any mistakes
  • help make sure they claim the correct amount

Phone calls about debt management

HMRC is sending voice prompts to some customers, explaining what you need to do if you’re behind with your payments. Customers will receive these as an inbound phone call to landline and mobile phones. They will give details for paying HMRC, or a helpline number for you to contact.

HMRC is also sending messages that give advice about how important it is to make payments using the correct information.

The messages will not ask for any personal or financial information.

Emails

Email about the annual tax summary

The HMRC Self Assessment team are sending email alerts to some customers to say that their annual tax summary is available to view. The emails have the title ‘Your Annual Tax Summary is ready’.

The emails also explain what is in the annual summary. These emails will never ask you to give your personal or financial information.

Help to Save customer experience research emails

Between October 2020 and December 2020, HMRC will be working with BMG Research Ltd to carry out research with customers who’ve opened Help to Save accounts. The research will look to understand customer experiences of Help to Save.

Customers selected to take part will receive an email from BMG Research Ltd asking them to complete an online survey.

The email will not ask for any personal or financial information.

Emails and letters about the Coronavirus Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme was announced by the Chancellor as a coronavirus measure. This is a grant for the self-employed who are impacted by coronavirus based on a set of eligibility criteria.

From May 2020 HMRC will invite customers to check their eligibility by:

  • SMS text message
  • email
  • letter

Customers will then receive a second contact from HMRC by SMS text message, email or letter confirming when the Scheme is open and inviting you to make a claim, or check when you’ll be able to do so.

Some customers will also receive an email that will do one of the following:

  • confirm their grant payment is being processed
  • advise them to check their bank details before their grant can be processed
  • ask them to confirm if they should not have received a grant as they stopped trading

The message you get will direct you to the GOV.UK website and will not include any hyperlinks.

Email about paying into your Help to Save account

HMRC may contact some customers by email who have opened Help to Save accounts. The emails will remind customers who have not paid any money into their account about the benefits of using this service.

These emails will not ask for any personal or financial information.

Emails aimed at businesses selling goods in the UK through online marketplaces

HMRC is contacting businesses who sell goods to customers in the UK through online marketplaces. The emails refer to VAT obligations in the UK. The first email will explain why HMRC is contacting them and ask them to get in touch.

Emails about helping to improve the GOV.UK website

Customers who sign up to help improve GOV.UK to make government services better will receive emails from HMRC.

The first email will include a link which you should follow to complete the signing up process.

Once you have signed up a second email will be sent that includes a link to a research blog. You may then receive other emails that include links to short surveys about research.

If you meet the criteria for the research, you’ll receive an email that will invite you to take part. The email will either have a link to take part online or additional details to take part face-to-face.

The emails will not ask for any personal or financial information. They will also contain a link to unsubscribe from future emails.

Emails promoting the Personal Tax Account

Customers who contact HMRC helplines will be asked if they wish to sign up to a Personal Tax Account (PTA). Customers who do not wish to sign up by telephone will be offered more information by email.

If you agree to provide an email address, you’ll be sent some information by email while you’re on the telephone. The email gives background information about the benefits of signing up to PTA, and how to sign up.

The email will not ask for any personal or financial information.

Emails about trade statistics import and export data

HMRC’s Trade Statistics Unit regularly sends emails to business customers regarding import and export statistical data, and the related services accessed from HMRC’s trade statistics website.

These include:

  • business alerts
  • service updates
  • deadline reminders
  • data quality reviews
  • survey requests

These messages may include links to further information, educational or survey content on the HMRC’s trade statistics website.

They will not ask for any personal, payment or tax related information.

Emails after you’ve sign up for Making Tax Digital for VAT

HMRC will send an email to customers who have signed up for Making Tax Digital for VAT using the Sign up for Making Tax Digital page.

HMRC will confirm you can submit VAT Returns within 72 hours using the email address you gave. The email will be sent from: noreply@tax.service.gov.uk and will not ask you for any financial information.

VAT Returns reminder emails

HMRC will send an email to customers to remind them when their VAT Return is due if they’ve registered to receive email reminders. The emails have the title ‘Reminder to file your VAT return’ and contain links to a further information page and a link to the sign in page on the GOV.UK website.

These emails will never ask you to provide personal or financial information.

VAT registration emails

HMRC will send an email to customers who have registered for VAT using HMRC online services. HMRC will use the email address customers have provided to advise that they need to log into their online tax account in order to view a message in the secure messaging area.

These emails will never ask you to provide personal or financial information.

VAT debts email reminders

HMRC may send an email to customers who are overdue with VAT payments. HMRC will use email addresses that customers have already provided and will recommend that customers pay online to avoid further action. These emails will never ask you to provide personal or financial information.

You’ll not be able to reply to the emails, which will be sent from: no.reply@advice.hmrc.gov.uk.

Emails about failed validation for the VAT EU refund service

Customers that use the VAT EU refunds service may receive an email if their claim has failed validation. The email will provide details explaining why the claim has failed.

The emails will not ask for any personal or financial information.

Emails about business help and support

HMRC will occasionally send emails to customers to support their business life events. The emails will sometimes include links to relevant online digital education products, used to offer you help in relation to your business and the email will appear in your address bar as: no.reply@advice.hmrc.gov.uk.

All emails issued from this address, are sent by Granicus (GovDelivery) our trusted email service provider.

These emails will never ask you to provide personal or financial information.

Emails from the Tax-free Childcare service

HMRC’s Tax-free Childcare service regularly send emails to advise parents that they could be missing out on government contributions towards childcare costs from the UK Government.

Employer email alerts for employer bulletins

HMRC sends informational bulletins several times a year to employers, who have registered to receive them. These emails never ask you to provide personal or financial information.

These HMRC-issued emails may have the title ‘Important information for employers’.

The emails include links to HMRC pages on the GOV.UK website, including advice about online security.

Text messages

SMS text messages to Self Assessment, VAT, PAYE and Corporation Tax customers

HMRC may contact customers who have debts or outstanding returns to:

  • request payment
  • request overdue returns
  • update their personal or business address

HMRC may also remind you of payment or return submission deadlines becoming due.

The messages will either:

  • direct you to the GOV.UK website
  • ask you to contact HMRC by phone to make payment or update your address

The messages will not include or ask for any personal or financial information.

Confirmation and update SMS text messages

HMRC may contact you by text to confirm they have received:

  • a claim
  • a form
  • other correspondence

The current confirmation SMS text messages being issued are:

  • Child Benefit
  • Child Benefit – education changes
  • complaints acknowledgements
  • VAT DIY House building

SMS text message campaigns for the National Minimum Wage

HMRC advises customers by text message who claim Working Tax Credits when their entitlement to National Minimum Wage has gone up following:

  • a recent 18th, 21st or 25th birthday - messages are issued on a monthly basis
  • the annual rate increase on 1 April each year

HMRC contacts apprentices by SMS text message after the annual rate increase on 1 April each year. The SMS text messages are issued from June, once a year.

Apprentices will receive texts advising them that any time spent training counts as working time. The texts will be issued in October 2020 and will not ask for any personal or financial information.

SMS text message campaign for Tax credit

HMRC may contact you by SMS text message to either invite you to a telephone interview or to ask you to contact us by phone or webchat to discuss your claim.

These messages do not request personal or financial information and will not include any links to websites.

SMS text message about Tax Credit - have your circumstances changed

HMRC may contact customers over the next few months by text who are currently in receipt of tax credits and who may need to notify us of a change in their circumstances which could affect their claim, or any payments they receive.

These messages will not contain phone numbers or include any links to websites

SMS text message about Tax-free Childcare and 30 hours free childcare

HMRC will contact parents by text message if they have not reconfirmed, they are still eligible for Tax-free Childcare.

SMS text messages about the Coronavirus Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme was announced by the Chancellor as a coronavirus measure. This is a grant for the self-employed who are impacted by coronavirus based on a set of eligibility criteria.

Customers may be contacted by HMRC by SMS text message, email or letter inviting you to make a claim or check when you’ll be able to do so.

These messages do not request personal or financial information and will not include any links to website.

Letters

Research letters about customer experience of HMRC

From September to November 2020, HMRC will work with independent research company called Kantar. They will carry out research to understand customer views of HMRC to help HMRC improve service quality.

Customers may receive a letter from HMRC inviting them to take part by telephone or online.

Taking part is voluntary. All answers will be confidential, and any information is for research purposes only. If you do not want to take part, you do not need to do anything.

Research letters about mid-sized businesses’ views of dealing with HMRC

Between September 2020 and March 2021, HMRC will be working with an independent agency, IFF Research.

You may receive a letter from IFF Research and HMRC telling you about the research and inviting you to take part.

This annual survey helps us to:

  • understand mid-sized businesses’ experiences of dealing with HMRC
  • assess the impact of various changes and initiatives
  • understand how services could be improved

If you need any further information, contact details for IFF Research and HMRC will be on the letter.

Taking part is voluntary. If you do take part, your answers and any information you give will be:

  • confidential
  • used for research purposes only

Research letters about child benefit and child tax credit

Between October 2020 and January 2021, HMRC will be working with an independent research agency called Jigsaw. They will carry out research to understand customer engagement with HMRC around child benefit and child tax credit.

Customers may receive a letter from Jigsaw on behalf of HMRC inviting them to take part in interviews by telephone or online. Taking part is voluntary. All answers will be confidential, and any information is for research purposes only.

Research letters about the impact of the HMRC Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme on employers and agents

Between October 2020 and January 2021, HMRC will work with an independent research company called Ipsos MORI.

The agency will be carrying out research to understand how effective the HMRC Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been and the ways in which HMRC can continue to improve the quality of support it provides to employers and agents.

Employers and agents may receive a letter from HMRC and Ipsos MORI inviting them to take part in the research by telephone. Employers and agents may receive this letter regardless of whether they’ve submitted a claim through the scheme or not.

Taking part is voluntary. All answers will be confidential and any information provided will be used for research purposes only.

Contact by email or text message

Self Assessment emails and SMS text messages

Between November 2020 and January 2021, HMRC is sending emails and SMS text messages to customers to remind them to file their Self Assessment return. The emails and SMS text messages will remind you to file your Self Assessment return and pay by 31 January. The emails and SMS will not request any personal or financial information.

Contact by email or phone

Research into the Customs Intermediaries sector - email or phone call

Between November 2020 and January 2021, independent research agency Ipsos Mori will carry out interviews to understand more about how the Customs Intermediaries sector is structured, the size of the sector and its capacity. This will help to enhance the support that HMRC offers to the Customs Intermediaries sector.

You may receive an email or telephone call from Ipsos Mori inviting you to take part in the research. If you have spoken to Ipsos MORI on the phone they may send a follow up email.

Taking part is voluntary, we encourage you to do so as it will help us understand how to support businesses preparing for future customs arrangements. If you do take part, your answers will be confidential. HMRC will not be able to identify the individuals or organisations that take part, or their individual answers. Any information you provide for this study will be used for research purposes only.

Research about payment methods accepted by businesses – email or phone call

Between October 2020 and January 2021, HMRC will be working with an independent research agency, IFF Research Ltd.

IFF Research will be carrying out research on HMRC’s behalf, looking at the payment methods accepted by businesses, their general views about cash payments and paying tax and whether Covid has had an impact on this. Initial contact will be made by telephone and may be followed by supporting emails or a link to an online survey to complete.

Taking part in this research is voluntary. If you choose to take part, all of your answers will be confidential. HMRC will not be able to identify the organisations that take part, or their individual answers. Any information you provide for this study will be used for research purposes only.

School payment agents - email and phone call

HMRC will be contacting school payment agents between September 2020 and summer 2021 to work in collaboration to build and market a new service that will make Tax-Free Childcare compatible with school payment agents.

Initial contact will be made by email, followed by phone calls to work through the details of this improvement. The emails will not request any personal or financial information.

VAT register inactivity – email or phone call

HMRC is contacting customers who are believed to no longer need to hold a VAT Registration Number due to recent inactivity on their VAT account. Customers may receive a phone call or email, with the email referring to VAT register inactivity.

The phone calls or emails will ask customers to confirm whether they still require to be VAT registered, and to provide some basic information on where they are trading.

The calls or emails will not ask for personal or financial information.

Contact by letter email or phone

Research about the current Customs Civil Penalties regime - letter, email, or phone call

Between November 2020 and February 2021, HMRC will work with an independent research agency called IFF Research.

The agency will be carrying out research into business awareness and understanding of the current Customs Civil Penalties regime. It will look into business’s experiences of interacting with the Customs Civil Penalties regime and their views on how effective it is.

You may receive a letter, email, or phone call from HMRC or IFF Research telling you about the research and inviting you to take part in an interview.

Taking part in this research is voluntary. If you choose to take part, all your answers will be confidential.

HMRC will not be able to identify the organisations that take part, or their individual answers. Any information you provide for this study will be used for research purposes only.

Participation in the research will not impact on any of your current or future dealings with HMRC.

Research exploring the impacts of the Museums & Galleries tax relief - letter, email or phone call

Between November and early December 2020, HMRC will be working with an independent research agency, Ipsos MORI.

The agency will be carrying out research exploring the impacts of the Museums & Galleries tax relief, both from the perspective of individual organisations, and the industry as a whole.

You may receive a letter, email or phone call from Ipsos MORI informing you of the research and inviting you to take part in an interview.

Taking part in this research is voluntary. If you choose to take part, all of your answers will be confidential.

HMRC will not be able to identify the organisations that take part, or their individual answers. Any information you provide for this study will be used for research purposes only.

Letter, email or phone call about off-payroll working education and support

Between July 2020 and April 2021 HMRC is delivering an education programme to customers to help them prepare for changes to the off-payroll working rules (also known as IR35) due to come into force on 6 April 2021.

You may receive a letter, email or phone call from us about changes to the rules. We may:

  • share guidance on how to prepare
  • ask questions to check if you are ready for the changes
  • provide support to help you prepare for the changes
  • direct you to more information on the GOV.UK website
  • ask for your feedback, so we can improve future education activities

We encourage you to take part in the programme, and we will not ask you for any personal financial information.

Contact by letter or phone

Research with Large Businesses for the Large Business Survey Wave 6 - letter or phone call

Through September to December 2020, HMRC will be working with an independent research agency, IFF Research Ltd.

The agency will be carrying out the Large Business Survey, an annual survey of the largest HMRC customers, which monitors large businesses’ experiences of dealing with HMRC and how their relationship with HMRC 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 Research Ltd informing you of the research, and a telephone call inviting you to take part in an interview lasting approximately 20 minutes.

Participation in this research is voluntary. If you choose to take part, all of your answers will be confidential.

HMRC will not be able to identify the businesses that take part, or their individual answers. Any information you provide for this study will be used for research purposes only.

Research to test compliance check communications - letter or phone call

Between October and November 2020, you may receive a letter or phone call from Kantar Public (an independent research company) inviting you to take part in a research interview on behalf of HMRC.

The research is to check customers’ understanding of communications that HMRC sends to as part of a compliance check.

Taking part in this research is voluntary. If you choose to take part, all of your answers will be confidential.

HMRC will not be able to identify the individuals or organisations that take part, or their individual answers. Any information you provide for this study will be used for research purposes only.

Research about purchasing UK property while living outside the UK – letter or phone call

Between October and December 2020, HMRC will be working with an independent research agency, IFF Research Ltd.

IFF Research will be carrying out research on HMRC’s behalf, looking at the decision-making process among people who purchase residential property in England or Northern Ireland while living outside the UK.

You may receive a letter or phone call from IFF Research informing you of the research and inviting you to take part in an interview.

Taking part in this research is voluntary. If you choose to take part, all of your answers will be confidential.

HMRC will not be able to identify the organisations that take part, or their individual answers. Any information you provide for this study will be used for research purposes only.

Research letters and phone calls into changes to the off-payroll working rules

Between August and December 2020, HMRC will be working with an independent research agency called IFF Research Ltd.

They will be carrying out research on HMRC’s behalf, exploring the impacts of the changes to the off-payroll working rules among public sector organisations and employment agencies.

You may receive a letter or phone call from IFF Research informing you of the research and inviting you to take part in an interview.

Taking part in this research is voluntary. If you choose to take part, all of your answers will be confidential.

Phone call and letter about businesses’ views of HMRC’s digital transformation

You may get a letter from IFF Research telling you about the research, and a telephone call inviting you to take part. You can either:

  • request further information about the research project
  • tell IFF Research that you do not want to take part

We encourage you to take part in the study, as it will help us understand how your business will deal with changes to tax administration that make it easier to use and more efficient.

Contact by letter or email

Emails and letters to overseas businesses that sell digital services to UK consumers

HMRC is contacting overseas businesses who sell digital services to UK consumers about their UK VAT obligations by email and post.

This communication will explain why we are contacting them, and ask them to contact us. We will not ask for any personal, business or financial information.

Letters or emails about statutory notices requesting information

HMRC’s Centre for National Information (CNI) regularly issues statutory notices to the holders of certain types of information, asking them to provide relevant details to HMRC. The holders of the information have a legal obligation to provide the data requested.

The notices requesting information can be sent by post or email.

Notices issued by email will contain a link to this webpage, so you can see that HMRC is using email for this purpose.

Contact by text or automated voice call

SMS text message or voice call – activating multi-factor authentication and logging into your HMRC tax account

Multi-factor authentication is an extra security feature for customers which replaces 2-step verification. It helps prevent someone else from accessing a customer’s digital account, even if they know the user ID and password. HMRC will send an access code by SMS text message or voice call to your chosen mobile phone or landline number to activate the multi-factor authorisation. You will need this code to complete the access.

These SMS text messages and voice calls will never ask you to give personal or financial information.

If you have activated multi-factor authentication you’ll only be able to access the account using:

  • the Government Gateway user ID and password
  • the mobile or landline device which you have registered
Published 16 January 2015