Don’t be caught out by fraud as tax credits deadline approaches
Last year, 22,000 fraudulent ‘phishing’ emails were reported to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) between April and July. As the deadline for renewing your tax credits approaches, scammers up their efforts to trick you into sharing your bank details or card information online.
HMRC are warning you to be aware of these scams as the tax credits deadline approaches. We look at how you can avoid tax credit fraud and highlight the important dates you need to know when renewing your tax credits.
Be careful of ‘phishing’ emails that look like official tax credit renewals
Phishing emails often suggest that you are owed a tax credits rebate. They will generally include a link which diverts you to a fake HMRC website where you will be asked for personal information such as your bank or card details.
The BBC reports that some 147 scam websites were closed down last year in countries around the world.
“HMRC will never ask you to disclose personal or payment information by email,” said Nick Lodge, director general of benefits and credits at HMRC.
“We are committed to your online security, but the methods fraudsters use to obtain information are constantly changing, so you need to be alert.”
Scam emails are set to increase in number as the tax credit renewal deadline appears and more and more people are dealing with their tax credit application. Keep reading for everything you need to know about the 2013 tax credit deadline.
What you should know about the tax credit renewal deadline
Do you want to claim tax credits for the first time? Or, do you want to keep receiving the benefit? If so, you have to submit your tax credit claim by 31st July 2013. If you miss the deadline, your payments could stop immediately.
19 April 2013 – first tax credits renewal packs sent out
28 June 2013 – final tax credit renewal packs sent out
31 July 2013 – tax credit renewal deadline
If you don’t receive your renewal pack by 28 June 2013, contact the Tax Credit Helpline for help.
Experts are urging you to renew your claim by the deadline. The Daily Mirror says that ‘it may seem a hassle to renew tax credit claims every year, but it’s important to ensure you get paid the right money.’
Your Annual Declaration Form
You should complete your Annual Declaration (TC603D or TC603D2) as quickly as possible and definitely no later than 31 July.
If you delay renewing, you could be paid too much tax credits (an ‘overpayment’) that you have to pay back. This could build up the longer you leave it before renewing.
Your Annual Review Notice
If you have only been sent an Annual Review notice (TC603R), you don’t need to renew your tax credits as your claim will be renewed automatically. However, you should tell the Tax Credit Helpline straight away (and no later than 31 July) if:
- you have had any changes in circumstances
- your income is different to what’s shown in the notice
- there are mistakes or details missing from the notice
Have you received a scam email? Have you renewed your tax credits in 2013? How did you find the process? Share your thoughts in the comments below.