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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) – not eligible for the fourth grant
From mid-April 2021 HMRC may contact you by email if you do not meet the requirements for the fourth SEISS grant. The email will include:
- reasons why you may no longer be eligible
- how to appeal HMRC’s decision if you believe it is incorrect
- guidance on other coronavirus (COVID 19) support available
To find the reasons why your application was not successful, return to your claim for SEISS.
The email will not ask for any personal information or include links and it will ask you to go to GOV.UK.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
0300 200 3310 (this number should be on the letter)
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
Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) – claim the fourth grant
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 a significant reduction in their trading profits between February and 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
We will ask certain customers to claim by telephone. This letter will ask them to:
- call the 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
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