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How to receive email updates from HMRC

There is still no facility for contacting HMRC by email, but there is now the option of receiving a response by email when you contact HMRC.

As anyone who has dealt with HMRC by post will know, it can be a very slow process. With resources stretched further than ever by the combination of Brexit and COVID-19, it’s taking HMRC a long time to work through the ever-growing backlog of post.

This has prompted HMRC to slowly move into the twenty-first century by providing the option to receive responses by email, instead of waiting for a letter or phone call.

Of course, there are risks to all kinds of communication with HMRC – here’s what you need to be aware of, and what you need to do to opt in to receiving emails from HMRC.

HMRC scam risks

Due to the sensitive nature of the information exchanged with HMRC, it’s common for criminals and scammers to target people by pretending to be HMRC representatives.

Unfortunately, there are many phishing scams run by fraudsters that aim to get personal or financial details from vulnerable people. This includes email, where scammers can send official-looking emails posing as HMRC, which contain malicious attachments.

These may invite you to open an attached file or click on a link, which can download a virus onto your device or prompt you to enter your bank details into an unsecure form.

To reduce the risk of scammers intercepting, altering, or manufacturing fake emails, HMRC plans to desensitise the information they send in response emails by only quoting parts of your details, such as a section of a unique reference number.

If you’re ever concerned that communication you’ve received from HMRC might be fraudulent, you can check the list of genuine HMRC contacts on the government website.

HMRC contact confirmation

If you would like to allow HMRC to contact you by email in response to your phone calls, online form submissions, or letters to HMRC, you must opt in by confirming this in writing.

To do this, you (or your agent) should fill out the email authority template confirming that you:

  • Understand and accept that using email has its risks
  • Are content for financial information to be sent in emails
  • Are aware that email attachments may be used
  • Have set your junk mail filters to not reject/delete emails from HMRC

You should also specify the names and email addresses of any staff or authorised representatives that you are happy for HMRC to interact with via email. You can opt out of this at any time by contacting HMRC
to revoke your permissions.

If you have a tax agent who handles your correspondence with HMRC, you should discuss this with them to decide whether or not you want to opt in to receiving HMRC emails.

Or, if you’re currently searching for a tax consultant
to help you get your tax affairs in order or handle HMRC enquiries
on your behalf, you can contact GBAC to arrange a consultation.