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

International trading activity after 1 January 2021

From January to June 2021 you may receive a phone call from HMRC about your readiness for trading with the EU as a result of Brexit.

We may:

  • ask how your business has prepared for the new trading relationship with the EU
  • ask about your international trade activity after 1 January 2021
  • direct you to more information on the GOV.UK website

HMRC will complete some standard security questions but will not ask for any financial information.

Making Tax Digital for VAT - businesses registered for VAT that must use software to submit their returns

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

VAT registered businesses with taxable turnover above the VAT threshold (£85,000) are now required to follow the Making Tax Digital 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 Making Tax Digital for VAT if you have not already done so.

Making Tax Digital 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.

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

Invitation to take part in research

If you have signed up to help make government services better, HMRC will email you to invite you to take part in research studies to improve HMRC’s online services.

The email will be headed ‘Invitation to take part in research’. You’ll only receive it if you if meet the criteria for the research study.

The email may include:

  • a link to take part in an online study
  • details about a face to face event

The email will contain a:

  • reference to this page so you can check that the email is genuine
  • phone number to contact the HMRC Research Team if you have any concerns

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.

Coronavirus Self-Employment Income Support

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme was announced by the Chancellor as a coronavirus (COVID-19) 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:

  • text message
  • email
  • letter

Customers will then receive a second contact from HMRC by 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.

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.

Businesses selling goods through online marketplaces in the UK

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.

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.

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

Personal Tax Account promotion

Customers who contact HMRC helplines will be asked if they wish to sign up to a Personal Tax Account. 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 a Personal Tax Account, and how to sign up.

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

Import and export data trade statistics

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.

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 not ask you for any financial information.

VAT Returns reminder

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

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 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.

VAT EU refund service failed validation

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.

Help and support

HMRC sends emails to customers to offer help and support. The emails will sometimes include links to online digital products such as webinars, HMRC’s YouTube videos or online guides.

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

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 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

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 text messages

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

  • a claim
  • a form
  • other correspondence

The current confirmation text messages being issued are:

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

Survey after a call to HMRC or a compliance check

HMRC may send you an exit survey by text message if you’ve:

  • agreed to provide feedback after calling one of our contact centres
  • gone through a compliance check

The text messages will not:

  • ask for personal or financial information
  • include any phone numbers
  • provide links to websites other than to the survey platform

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 text message after the annual rate increase on 1 April each year. The SMS text messages are issued from June, once a year and will not ask for any personal or financial information.

Tax credit claim

HMRC may contact you by 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.

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.

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.

Coronavirus Self-Employment Income Support Scheme invitation to claim

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 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 websites.

Letters

Claiming repayment for Self Assessment

You may receive a letter from HMRC asking you to contact us about your repayment claim. We may ask you to provide extra information. This allows us to check your identity and verify your repayment claim.

You must respond to the letter as instructed so we can make any repayments owed to you as soon as possible.

If you need further support or you’re not sure if the letter is genuine, contact us using one of the following:

Our customer support team will check your records and confirm that the letter is from HMRC.

PAYE debt segmentation research

From March to May 2021, HMRC will work with independent research company Kantar. The research aims to:

  • improve HMRC’s understanding of the experience of PAYE customers during the coronavirus pandemic
  • explore our debt segmentation modelling

You may receive a letter from Kantar inviting you to take part in the research. We encourage you to participate to help improve our understanding of our debt segmentation modelling.

Taking part in this research is voluntary. If you choose to take part, all your answers will be confidential and will be used for research purposes only. Participating in this research will not affect any of your dealings with HMRC.

Claiming tax reliefs research

From March to April 2021, HMRC will work with independent research company Kantar. The research aims to improve HMRC’s understanding of customers’ experience of claiming Marriage Allowance or relief for job-related expenses.

You may receive a letter from HMRC inviting you to take part in the research. We encourage you to participate to help improve our services for claiming tax reliefs in the future.

Taking part in this research is voluntary. If you choose to take part, all of your answers will be confidential and will be used for research purposes only. Participating in this research will not affect any of your dealings with HMRC.

Northern Ireland Protocol research

From February 2021, HMRC will be working with independent research agency, Kantar. The research aims to understand the experiences of businesses based in Great Britain and Northern Ireland when moving goods to or from Northern Ireland immediately after 1 January 2021.

You may receive a letter from HMRC inviting you to take part in the research. We encourage you to participate to help improve our support services for customers.

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

Statutory review process research

HMRC are working with independent research agency, Ipsos MORI (who carry out research with customers), to understand their perceptions of the statutory review process.

You may receive a letter from HMRC inviting you to take part in the research and we encourage you to take part to help improve our support services for customers.

Taking part in this research is voluntary. If you choose to take part, all of your answers will be confidential and we will not ask for any financial information.

Student loan repayment of deductions

From June 2020 HMRC will contact you by letter to tell you there is a repayment of student loan deductions due.

The letter will:

  • include details of why the repayment is due
  • show the employer you worked with at the time
  • tell you about changes to the way we issue repayments as a result of the coronavirus situation
  • request personal information to allow us to make a faster repayment

You can call the Income Tax general enquiry helpline to confirm this request is genuine.

Contact by letter, email or text message

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme is a grant for anyone who meets all the following requirements:

  • is self-employed
  • is affected by coronavirus
  • has had significant reduction in their trading profits between February to April 2021

After mid-April 2021, HMRC will contact you by letter, email or text if it is likely that you will fit these requirements. The letter, email or text will:

  • invite you to go on GOV.UK to check your eligibility and make a claim
  • contain the personal details you will need to make your claim and advice on how to claim

The letter will also give you the option to claim by telephone. It will ask you to:

  • call HMRC helpline
  • quote the reference included in the letter

We may provide you with a personal claim date, which is the earliest date you can make a claim. You must claim on or before 1 June 2021. We will not ask for any personal information or include links.

Contact by email or text message

There are no campaigns running that will send you an email and a text message.

Contact by email or phone

Haulier readiness

Since December 2020, HMRC has been speaking with hauliers over the phone on behalf of the Department for Transport. They’re discussing how hauliers are taking on the process changes (that came into place on 1 January 2021) for moving goods in and out of the EU.

Hauliers who operate with an international licence may be contacted to make sure they understand the changes. HMRC will also email and call hauliers who may have had difficulty completing an entry on the Goods Vehicle Movement Service.

There’s no obligation to take part in these calls, but those who participate will be given information on the new requirements for hauliers (that came into effect on 1 January 2021) and the steps they can take to prepare.

School payment agents

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

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

The National Minimum Wage, National Living Wage and employment

HMRC may sometimes contact employees to discuss details of their current or previous employment.

If we call you, we’ll:

  • tell you our enquiry is about the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage
  • ask you basic questions about your current work or previous employment experiences
  • complete some standard security questions

We’ll never ask for personal financial information such as bank details without writing to you first.

You can ask us not to tell your current or previous employer about the call.

HMRC will also contact employers in relation to National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage enquiries.

To check that this contact is genuine you should:

  • have a copy of the letter or email you’ve received from National Minimum Wage to hand
  • tell us the details of the person who called you from National Minimum Wage
  • call 03000 557 755

If you have received a letter, email, text or phone call from another HMRC office you can call the Income Tax general enquiry helpline to check this contact is genuine.

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 HMRC about changes to the rules. This 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

Views on VAT record keeping and VAT returns – research with businesses

In April 2021, HMRC will work with independent research agency Yonder. The research will explore the views of businesses who are VAT registered in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

In relation to the rule changes for Making Tax Digital for VAT, the research aims to understand:

  • the extent of awareness amongst businesses
  • how these rule changes may affect businesses

You may receive a joint letter from HMRC and Yonder in April 2021 inviting you to take part in the research.

Yonder may call you in May and June 2021 to arrange an interview.

We encourage you to take part to help HMRC improve support services for our customers.

If you do take part, your answers and any information you give will be confidential and only used for research purposes.

Self Employment Income Support Scheme for first time Self Assessment tax return filers for 2019 to 2020

From March to April 2021 HMRC will write to customers who became self-employed in 2019 to 2020 and submitted a self-assessment return for that period.

As a result of the Chancellor’s announcement that the fourth Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant will take into account the 2019 to 2020 tax returns, these customers may be eligible for support under SEISS.

The letter will tell customers to expect a telephone call on the number they provided on their tax return.

If the customer provided an agent’s number on their return, we will ask the agent to pass on the customer’s number as we need to speak to the customer directly.

When we call, we’ll ask for proof of identity and evidence of trade in the form of bank statements.

We are aware of increased scam activity related to HMRC’s coronavirus support schemes. The purpose of this letter is to explain to customers that this is a genuine call, and to give customers details on how to recognise it as such.

Advice and information contractors receive about tax

Between February 2021 and April 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 advice and information they receive about tax.

You may receive a letter from IFF Research making you aware of the research.

Later, you may receive a call from IFF Research inviting you to take part.

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 that take part, or their individual answers. Any information you provide for this study will be used for research purposes only.

Contact by letter or email

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’s impact on employers

Between March and June 2021, HMRC will work with an independent research company called Ipsos MORI. They will be carrying out research on behalf of HMRC to understand:

  • how effective the scheme has been
  • how HMRC can continue to improve the quality of support it provides to employers

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

Taking part in this research is voluntary. If you choose to take part, your answers will be confidential and information you provide will only be used for research purposes.

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.

Statutory notices requesting information

HMRC’s Data Acquisition & Exchange (DA&E) 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

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 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 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
  • mobile or landline device which you have registered
Published 16 January 2015
Last updated 20 April 2021 + show all updates
  1. 'Invitation to take part in research' has been added to the section about emails from HMRC.

  2. An update on claiming repayment for Self Assessment has been added to the letters section.

  3. Update on PAYE debt segmentation research and research into awareness of rule changes to Making Tax Digital for VAT have been added to the letters section.

  4. Information on emails and letters relating to research into how helpful the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been to employers has been added

  5. Updates on research letters about claiming tax reliefs and email and letter reminders about Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwelling returns have been added.

  6. Information has been added about letters and phone calls from HMRC regarding the Self Employment Income Support Scheme for first time Self Assessment tax return filers for 2019 to 2020.

  7. Letters are going out about research into businesses based in Great Britain and Northern Ireland moving goods to or from Northern Ireland immediately after 1 January 2021.

  8. Information on emails about rejected claims for Coronavirus Job Retentions Scheme claims has been added.

  9. Information about the haulier readiness phone calls has been updated.

  10. Information about text message Tax Credit customers may receive to confirm their 2019 to 2020 self-employment income has been added.

  11. Information on letters sent between January and March 2021 about awareness of correct National Minimum Wage has been added.

  12. Information on letters and phone between February and April 2021 about information contractors receive about tax has been added.

  13. Information has been added on: haulier and business readiness for changes to processes and trading relationships with the EU after 1 January 2020; research into customers' experience of debt; research into the High Income Child Benefit Charge.

  14. Information on phone calls about international trading activity with the EU from 1 January 2020 has been added.

  15. Information on phone calls to hauliers about changes to the process of moving goods in and out of the EU from 1 January 2021 has been added.

  16. We have updated information about contacting you regarding employment, the National Minimum Wage and the National Living Wage

  17. IFF researchers into Chinese online sellers will contact customers using email or phone calls only.

  18. Information for research letters about the statutory review process has been added.

  19. We have updated information on business help and support emails from no.reply@advice.hmrc.gov.uk.

  20. Added translation