How do you verify that a caller is from HMRC?

What methods do you use to verify that someone claiming to be from HMRC actually is?

Didn't find your answer?

Having had a phone call from HMRC regarding a client the other day from an "anonymous" number (presumably as they were calling from home), it made me think about what information we should be asking them for in relation to clients in order to verify their identity.  Do we agree to go through their security information before they've gone through ours?  In this particular case, they said it was about a client for whom I knew there was an active case in progress but I know certain colleagues refuse point blank to speak to HMRC if they call.

Generally if I can see that the call is from an HMRC number then I am more likely to take it but I do want to help clients by wrapping things up more speedily if possible rather than waiting for their letters.  This particular, fairly simple, case has taken over 12 months due to the delays with HMRC responding to each letter and us requesting extensions due to the client's poor health and hospital admissions at times during that year.

Replies (17)

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By bernard michael
07th Sep 2023 09:45

I ask for UTR and insurance number before accepting the call

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By Justin Bryant
07th Sep 2023 09:54

Ask them if they think MTDfIT is a good idea or not and excellent value for money.

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Replying to Justin Bryant:
By Ruddles
07th Sep 2023 10:06

Justin Bryant wrote:

Ask them if they think MTDfIT is a good idea or not and excellent value for money.


And if they say anything other than "I don't know what that is", hang up immediately.
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Replying to Justin Bryant:
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By bendybod
08th Sep 2023 09:56

And if they say yes then they're definitely a senior officer?

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Replying to frankfx:
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By bendybod
08th Sep 2023 09:58

That only tells me how to identify, as Joe Bloggs, when a call is not likely to be HMRC. It doesn't tell me how to establish, as an agent, that a call definitely IS HMRC when it comes from an anonymous number and when they insist on me giving the client's details to them before they'll give any information to me.

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By Crouchy
07th Sep 2023 10:41

we've tried to do a security check on a few occassions, pointing out that its them phoning us, but they've always refused only wantign to do their own security checks

simple solution is no to speak with them by phone

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By Open all hours
07th Sep 2023 13:13

So far we just go for the same as they ask us. None have yet passed, all agree to write, very few of them do.

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By SkyBlue22
07th Sep 2023 13:51

I usually ask for the client UTR and our agent code for whichever tax it is they're ringing about.

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Replying to SkyBlue22:
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By bendybod
08th Sep 2023 09:59

Agent code is a good one.

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By nrw2
07th Sep 2023 15:30

Given HMRC's current service levels, you can probably assume that the call isn't from them...

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By B Roberts
07th Sep 2023 15:44

I have had issues with banks and utility companies - they call and request a verification process, I usually say that as they rang me they know who I am, but I don't know who they are - there is often a silence at this point as their script does not cover this.

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Replying to B Roberts:
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By bendybod
08th Sep 2023 09:59

Yes, good one.

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Replying to B Roberts:
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By Matrix
08th Sep 2023 10:05

Yes this happened the other day and they wouldn’t give me any information to confirm who they were. I wouldn’t give my personal info either. In the end they gave me a number for calling back.

I suggested they have a password or code which I can request and they thought this was a good recommendation and would pass it on. Although it didn’t sound as if the caller had ever been asked to go through someone’s security. It was the fraud department of a bank too!

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Replying to B Roberts:
By Ruddles
08th Sep 2023 11:04

Playing Devil's Advocate - all they have is a name and a telephone number. They don't know that the person answering the phone is the person that they want to speak to. But that doesn't dislodge the need for them to prove who they are as well.

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By Mr J Andrews
12th Sep 2023 19:07

Ask for Name, Rank and Serial Number. Ask them to hold. Then play Jeff Beck's ''Bolero'' whilst they hold. After 23 minutes tell them they must participate in a 27 minute customer survey questionnaire if the conversation is to be pursued.

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