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Tax return agents’ ‘copycat’ websites

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With the 31 January deadline for filing SA returns fast approaching, the media has been asking us for our view on ‘copycat websites’, where companies offer to file returns for customers in return for large fees - sometimes up to £400. These companies pay to advertise their link at the top of search engines, so customers find them first when searching for ‘HMRC’, ‘tax return’ and so on.

I thought I’d let you know that our view on this hasn’t changed. It costs nothing to file a tax return. It’s important that anyone thinking of using a tax return agent is clear in advance about fees payable - and can satisfy themselves that they will receive the service they are signing up for.

Whilst people are entirely free to employ a tax return agent, HMRC does not sanction or in any way approve such sites.  And we will take firm action against any websites that suggest otherwise. As you know, HMRC provides comprehensive help and guidance through our website and contact centres entirely free of charge.


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  1. Comment by James McBrearty posted on

    This is good to hear that action is being taken against sites attempting to pass themselves off as official submission sites.

    I've seen a similar situation occur with the US ESTA site - being directed to a pay site and not the official government one when using a search engine.

  2. Comment by adrian huston @HustonTax posted on

    Keep up the good work on these sites - a lot of people are complaining they have paid money to them thinking they had paid HMRC.
    Blog post required about today's Guardian article and 15 day extension to SA deadline for some.