HMRC has issued an updated version of their online guidance on Genuine HMRC contact and recognising phishing emails and texts. The guidance provides a current list of genuine messages from HMRC. This includes email messages, text messages and telephone contacts from HMRC.
HMRC is currently carrying out compliance checks for midsized businesses, charities and public bodies by way of a compliance check interview over the phone. If you are unsure if a request is genuine you can ask the HMRC staff member to send an email while you are on the call to confirm their identity. Their email address should have their name and end in @hmrc.gsi.gov.uk. You can also call the relevant HMRC general enquiry helpline to check if a request is genuine. HMRC may also ask for business records to be sent by post or electronically, by a secure platform.
Until December 2018, HMRC is also working with Populus, an independent research agency to carry out stakeholder engagement research. First contact will be by email with follow up contact by email and telephone. Populus may send further emails to stakeholders or telephone them to encourage them to take part in the research.
Although these communications are genuine, taxpayers should still be wary of receiving messages that are purported to come from HMRC. Fake email and text messages can appear to be genuine, but clicking on a link from these messages can result in personal information being compromised and the possibility of computer viruses affecting your computer or smartphone. If you are unsure as to the validity of any message it should not be opened until the sender can be verified.