Scams and surveys
We have often alerted you to scams which purport to be communications from HMRC, but are actually criminals trying to access bank accounts or the login details of taxpayers or their agents.
These types of scams continue, but this Autumn HMRC are conducting a number of genuine surveys through the firms: Kantar Public and Ipso MORI. In all cases the taxpayer selected for the survey will not be asked to provide any personal or financial information, or to make any payments. The taxpayer can of-course refuse to take part in the survey.
Two-step varication process
When a business wants to access their online bank account they need to complete a number of security checks. Most businesses are familiar with a two-step process that may include a keypad generating a code number or receiving a text message.
From 25 September 2017 HMRC will be rolling out a two-step security process which businesses will have to complete before they can file any PAYE, VAT or CT return. This means that in addition to the usual login details, the business will need to set up a mobile phone, or a telephone landline, or an app, to receive a security code each time they want access to their HMRC account.
We urge our clients to think about how to handle this change, so they don’t encounter difficulties just before the next VAT filing deadline. For instance, you may want to set up dedicated mobile phone to receive the code numbers. Where there is no or little mobile phone coverage, a landline telephone number can be used, in which case the code number will be read out by an automated voice.
Where all telephone calls are routed through a central switchboard, the HMRC app on a tablet connected to the internet can be used to receive the security code. However, each code received via the app will only be valid for 30 seconds, so the recipient has to be pretty nimble copying the code number into the HMRC webpage.
A recording of an HMRC webinar which gives further details of this two-step process can be viewed online.