New research conducted by Saffery Champness reveals that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a large increase in tax scams that are directly related to the virus.
The company used a Freedom of Information request to secure the data for this analysis, which shows that a total of 9,948 tax scams related to COVID-19 were reported to the tax authority during the first six months of this year.
May proved to be the worst month for this, with reports of 5,048 scams that made direct reference to COVID-19, before the number dropped dramatically the following month, to 2,495.
The majority of the pandemic-related tax scams that HMRC received reports of took the form of fake emails claiming to be from the tax authority that advised sole traders and other business owners affected by the crisis that they were eligible for a tax rebate or refund.
Speaking to Accountancy Daily, Mike Hodges from Saffery Champness said that the scams were exploiting the financial strain that many business owners and individuals were going through because of the pandemic and lockdown, before adding:
“Some offer the recipient a tax refund to help manage the financial pressures of the coronavirus, while others take the form of a bogus fine levied on the recipient for repeatedly leaving the house during the lockdown.”
Issues such as this are why many people choose to employ a business accountant in South Yorkshire or whatever region they are living in to deal with their financial affairs.