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VAT Email from HMRC Demand

VAT Demand

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My client has today received a VAT email supposedly from HMRC ( looks like a genuine HMRC email address ) saying he didnt file/make payment of VAT return for QE 30/09 and that an assesment has been made and that this amount is going to be collected by DD in 2 days time .......the problem I have is :-

 

1. The VAT return was filed on time - have HMRC acknowledgement email and VAT return is available to view on gateway.

2. Payment of the correct amount as per the VAT return has already been collected by HMRC.

 

I have a few questions :-

 

1. Would HMRC ever send this type of email ?

2. Can they legally collect an assesment by DD ?

Of course i am going to telephone tomorrow to speak to them directly about this but unfortunately this isnt the first time this client has experience problems....18 months ago HMRC managed to overwrite the clients VAT number with that of another company....after several phone calls despite telling me it was impossible ( i knew it wasnt as they had done it ) they rectified it but never replied to my official complaint .....so think the client thinks this is our fault !!

 

Thanks for any advise you can give..

 

 

Replies (16)

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Out of my mind
By runningmate
23rd Nov 2016 23:36

Does the email request a response - does it include a clickable link? If so it may well be a bogus scam email.
RM

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Replying to runningmate:
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By copenorth
23rd Nov 2016 23:44

No link...... and the client is unable to forward the email as it scrambles the text but we have noticed the VAT number although starred out does not match my clients ...... I fear a lengthy call to HMRC tomorrow !'
Thanks for your reply

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Replying to Pembroke:
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By copenorth
23rd Nov 2016 23:54

Many thanks for your reply ........ unfortunately the client is working away with limited mobile coverage but I was going to suggest he made the call to his bank as the demand is for a considerable amount of money !!!
Just out of interest though he hasn't been asked to provide any bank details they have just been told it will be collected by DD that is the part that is strange to me ? Either way will ensure that the funds can't leave the bank !!!

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By Vinoo
23rd Nov 2016 23:53

To me this is not an email from HMRC. Since the VAT return is submitted, acknowledged, and paid in full and in time, HMRC will not make such contact. You can also check online that your client's account has no outstanding VAT return to submit.

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RLI
By lionofludesch
24th Nov 2016 08:29

Obvious scam.

Alert the bank.

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By RFBS
24th Nov 2016 09:45

One of our clients received a similar email on the 22nd November, incorrect Vat Month End/incorrect Vat No. only last two digits displayed. Telling her 14k+ will be taken via Direct Debit on the 25th November if left unpaid. No link included but an attachment inc scrambled text when opened on an iPhone. Ive advised them that its a phishing email but to alert the bank to err on the side of caution. Ive also told her to forward the email to HMRC here - [email protected]

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Replying to RFBS:
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By copenorth
24th Nov 2016 10:03

yes that is exactly the same ! When you ring HMRC they now have an automated message telling you to ignore an email informing you of direct debit.......as you say there is no links so not sure how they are going to get the money but the email address seems to be coming from looks genuine so I am worried HMRC have been compromised. Also advised to contact the bank and forward to phishing.....but as the message is scrambled when you try and forward it i'm sure what they are going to gain from this

Thanks for your reply.

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Replying to RFBS:
By Penfold
24th Nov 2016 10:32

RFBS wrote:

... No link included but an attachment inc scrambled text when opened ...

unexpected email, unexpected attachment and they (you?) opened it ?

In bold red, the footer on our emails warns clients to never respond to emails claiming to come from HMRC

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Replying to Penfold:
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By copenorth
24th Nov 2016 10:43

I appreciate what you are saying but can anyone explain how this email is sent from an @hmrc.gsi.gov.uk email ?

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Replying to copenorth:
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By Wanderer
24th Nov 2016 10:53

Probably wasn't.

Check the plain text version of the email to work out where it really came from.

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Replying to copenorth:
RLI
By lionofludesch
24th Nov 2016 11:05

copenorth wrote:

I appreciate what you are saying but can anyone explain how this email is sent from an @hmrc.gsi.gov.uk email ?

New Chancellor with a new tax raising wheeze ?

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Replying to copenorth:
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By MarkTunstall
25th Nov 2016 14:50

copenorth wrote:

I appreciate what you are saying but can anyone explain how this email is sent from an @hmrc.gsi.gov.uk email ?

Its called spoofing (forging the 'From' address) and it is a pretty easy thing to do - most spammers and scammers use this technique. It is possible to stop it, but requires technology like SPF records being applied - this is happening more but not enough to completely rule out this tactic from working. Can happen to any business, not just hmrc.

SPF records, once deployed, identify which mail servers are allowed to send out mail using your domain - kind of "if your name's not down, your not coming in".

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By Paul Deakins
25th Nov 2016 20:24

Sounds like a 'phishing' email, HMRC do not contact by email to make vat demands, I had the very same scenario two months ago with a client, if the sender link doesn't include gov.uk then you can assume it is spam, these emails are very convincing but when I alerted HMRC they asked me to forward it onto them but also confirmed there and then that it was indeed a phishing email. Be safe and alert the bank also.

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By chewmac
26th Nov 2016 08:51

It is a scan. HMRC have posted about it on LinkedIn. Only thing you need to do is ignore it and maybe report it to HMRC if you wish.

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By copenorth
26th Nov 2016 15:33

Thanks for all the replies ...... when I telephoned HMRC the recorded message was about this particular scam so they are aware of it !!! As they didn't have a link in the email to enter bank details etc still not sure what could be gained from telling someone they are going to collect a direct debit ? It didn't ask for any details nor was it requesting payment just telling you what was going to happen ? Anyway the bank have been alerted to be on the safe side !

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By billgilcom
27th Nov 2016 12:53

Of course any action on a scam email - including just trying to open any attachment - can set up a keystroke tracking operation - and of course what do you do immediately after trying to open the attachment - YOU go on to your banking site and check the bank !!!

This needs careful and urgent attention
Bill S
www.wamstaxltd.com

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