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HMRC cautions against VAT bank details fraud

by Andrew Stanton

17 May 2024

HMRC warns of fraudulent use of Form VAT 484 to access VAT repayments. Businesses should verify their bank details and stay vigilant to protect against these scams.

Fraudsters have exploited Form VAT 484 to gain unauthorised access to businesses’ VAT repayments, which poses a significant risk to the financial security of many companies.

Businesses can update their VAT details with HMRC either through the Government Gateway Portal or by using the paper form VAT 484. This process includes changes to critical information such as the business’s contact details, return dates, and bank account information. Regrettably, HMRC has found that fraudsters have manipulated Form VAT 484 in schemes designed to misappropriate VAT repayments. Because of this, HMRC is putting a series of measures into action to tackle and mitigate this fraudulent activity. These measures include contacting businesses to confirm any changes they have made to their details since January 2024.

 

Taking Proactive Measures

Businesses must proactively safeguard themselves against these fraudulent attempts. We strongly recommend that businesses review their tax accounts immediately to ensure the accuracy and currency of all bank details. In addition, businesses need to confirm the receipt of any expected VAT repayments. While businesses classified as repayment traders have been the primary targets of these fraudulent activities, it’s important to note that one reported case involved a business that usually operates in a payment position. This incident highlights that all VAT-registered businesses should remain vigilant and cautious, regardless of their typical VAT status.

 

Enhancing Security Practices

Moreover, businesses should consider implementing additional security measures, such as regularly monitoring their HMRC accounts for any unauthorised changes or suspicious activity. Maintaining open and frequent communication with HMRC can also help in quickly identifying and addressing any potential issues. Staying informed about the latest security threats and fraud prevention strategies is crucial in safeguarding a business’s financial health and integrity.

 

Collaborative Responsibility

In conclusion, while HMRC is actively working to combat the fraudulent misuse of Form VAT 484, the responsibility also lies with businesses to ensure their information is secure. By taking the recommended precautions and staying alert to potential fraud, businesses can better protect themselves from falling victim to these schemes.

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