HMRC Is Shite

HMRC Is Shite
Dedicated to the taxpayers of Britain, and the employees of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), who have to endure the monumental shambles that is HMRC.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Copycat Site Shuts

In January I wrote about the dangers of paying fees to websites that claim to check and file your return with HMRC, aka copycat websites.

One such site ( that charged people £500 to file tax returns online with HMRC, a process that is free if done directly with HMRC, has temporarily been suspended.
It seems that, according to the Telegraph, some people are claiming to have been "misled" into believing the site was a "genuine" government tax portal by its design.
A statement on company’s website said:
Due to overwhelming customer demand for our service and the close proximity to the January 31st Self-Assessment deadline, we have taken the decision to suspend our Self-Assessment Tax Return Submission service to new clients at this time. This decision has been made to ensure that we deliver the highest level and quality of service to our existing clients.

Strictly speaking the site did not break the law, but in effect duped the gullible into spending money on a process that is in fact free.

A spokesman for Trading Standards said:
In principle, a practice such as this is not illegal. Many businesses provide a service that consumers could carry out themselves relatively easily. We have looked at this particular trader's website site, and they do state that they are not connected to or affiliated with HMRC, DWP or any other official government body so there is very little that Trading Standards can do in this instance.”
A spokesman for HMRC said:
Whilst people are entirely free to employ a tax return agent, HMRC does not sanction or in any way approve such sites, and we will take firm action against any websites that suggest otherwise. HMRC provides comprehensive help and guidance through our website and contact centres entirely free of charge."
Who4 owns, by happenstance it runs a number of copycat websites; where customers are charged £172 for passports that would normally cost £72.50 and £29 for Ehic cards, which are issued free by the NHS.

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. I have been talking to someone who was scammed by these individuals. In her case though she was filing her own tax return on HMRC's website when the scammers details popped up and requested £500 from her which she paid thinking that it was a tax payment on demand. When she looked at the information they had filed some of her information but had omitted part of it.
    She contacted HMRC who confirmed taht they had received her return when she firts filed it with them but there was no way that the scammers could access HMRC's website and divert her to their own site. Or so they say! I would be very interested to hear of anyone elses experiances of HMRC Gateway.

  2. "Strictly speaking the site did not break the law, but in effect duped the gullible into spending money on a process that is in fact free."

    A bit like many accountants.