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Self-assessment – be alert to potential scams
There is a risk you could be taken in by scam texts, emails or calls either offering a refund or demanding unpaid tax, thinking that they are genuine HMRC communications referring to their Self Assessment return.
Some customers who have not done a Self Assessment return previously might be tricked into clicking on links in these emails or texts and revealing personal or financial information to criminals.
Anyone contacted by someone claiming to be from HMRC in a way that arouses suspicion is advised to take their time and check the scams advice from HMRC.
Customers can report any suspicious activity to HMRC. They can forward suspicious texts claiming to be from HMRC to 60599 and emails to firstname.lastname@example.org. Any tax scam phone calls can be reported to HMRC using their online form.
The scheme works by setting up a Tax-Free Childcare account. The government then adds 25% of money paid into this account. This means for every £8 paid into the online account, families will automatically receive an additional £2 in government top-up. There is a limit of £500 every quarter, meaning up to £2,000 per year. The scheme is not just for traditional childcare, it can be used for things like holiday clubs, nurseries, childminders and after school clubs.
The number of businesses rated as being in ‘critical financial distress’ jumped by 25% to 2,090 in Q3 compared to the same time last year, in the latest Begbies Traynor Red Flag report.
Bars and restaurants, alongside general retailers, were the main drivers of this increase in critical financial distress, up 48% and 72% respectively.
In a survey of 1,000 small business owners, 42% have implemented price increases, and 23% are increasing or changing their business hours.
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