Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/02/03/hmrc_tax_returns/

Record year for online tax filing - and phishing mails

Scammers rev up for tax season

By John Oates

Posted in Security, 3rd February 2010 10:14 GMT

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs is celebrating another record year for online tax returns, over six million people filed online this year.

By the 31 January 6,429,899 people had filed returns online - three quarters of the total returns received. This is up 12 per cent from last year when 5.8m used HMRC's website.

The busiest day was Friday 29 January when the Rev received 384,638 forms.

Online filing should mean processing is cheaper for the Revenue, and quicker too so if any money is owed you should receive it sooner.

But be aware - this year has seen a big year in phishing emails apparently coming from HMRC. This is not a new problem but this year has been particularly bad - one day in October saw HMRC receive 10,000 examples of phishing mails. It expects even more in the next few weeks because many people will be expecting, or hoping, for a rebate.

The Revenue warned the number of emails promising tax rebates peaked in the week before the deadline. Many messages began with: "Following a review of your fiscal activity you are due a refund of tax of £XXX.’

A spokesman for HMRC said: “We only ever contact customers who are due a refund in writing by post. We never use emails, telephone calls or external companies in these circumstances. We strongly urge anyone receiving such an email to send it to us for investigation before deleting it.” ®