HMRC targets rogue tax refund agents

HMRC has announced new measures which aim to stop agents taking large amounts of people's tax refunds.

A 12 week consultation has been launched called "raising standards in tax advice: protecting customers claiming tax repayments."

The aim of the consultation is to find better ways to protect people from tax agents who make refund claims on their behalf and take a large percentage of the payment.

In the consultation, it proposes ways to identify bad practices and ensure taxpayers receive the money they are entitled to.

This includes seeking views on:

  • restricting the use of assignments, where contracts legally transfer the right to a repayment from a taxpayer to an agent
  • introducing measures designed to ensure taxpayers see material information about a repayment agent's service before entering into a contractual agreement
  • requiring repayment agents to register with HMRC

Kelly Sizer, senior technical manager at the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group, said:

"We welcome HMRC putting deeds of assignment and other consumer protection issues under the spotlight to improve the system going forward. But we are concerned that while the consultation takes place and changes are implemented, more taxpayers will be affected in the meantime. We urge HMRC to consider what more they can do to protect people in the interim."

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