ANYONE THAT has recently purchased a property needs to be aware of stamp duty scam doing the rounds. HMRC is warning housebuyers to be wary of cold callers, or social media ads, claiming that they are owed a refund of stamp duty land tax.
So what do homeowners need to watch out for?
HMRC has long warned taxpayers about so-called “high volume” tax repayment companies. These are companies that have a very limited purpose – usually attracting people in with the promise of large tax refunds of unclaimed allowances, e.g. for uniforms or the marriage allowance.
While such firms in many cases may be legitimate, they tend to charge a sizeable fee on any refunds receivable. This is almost always disproportionate to the work undertaken as such claims can be made directly by completing a simple form.
However, some supposed refund firms are actually fraudsters with questionable motives. HMRC is now warning about a recent spate of stamp duty tax refund claims that have not met the criteria for a refund. These usually prey on the unsuspecting public via cold calling or social media ads.
One such method that Shipleys Tax have encountered appears to be where the scammer approaches a homeowner claiming that they could be eligible for “multiple dwellings relief” for extremely spurious reasons, e.g. because a bedroom has an en-suite bathroom or a built-in wardrobe which “could be used as a kitchen” etc. While these claims may simply be rejected outright, the worry is that in some cases the refund is initially processed, the scammer takes their “fee”, and the homeowner then receives a demand for repayment of the refund, with interest and possibly even penalties. Naturally, by then the potential scammer has then disappeared.
Anyone receiving such a letter or being approached should refer it to the professional that handled their conveyance to ensure nothing has been missed. We also advise them to contact a tax specialist for guidance. We would also reiterate that are also many legitimate firms who genuinely work to recover tax refunds and provide a thoroughly professional service.
If you are affected by any of the issues above and would like more information, please call 0114 272 4984 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that Shipleys Tax do not give free advice by email or telephone.