Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications, experience, or professional insurance of anyone posting on Mumsnet and cannot be held responsible for any advice given on the site. Free legal advice is available from a Citizen's Advice Bureau, and the Law Society can supply a list of local solicitors.

Silly mistake when filing my self assessment tax return - not on the official HMRC site

(27 Posts)
willotess Fri 17-Jan-14 19:40:58

I have also posted this on Freelancers/self employed, but thought more of you might see this post here and be able to offer some advice/sympathy/bollocking!!

I went online to complete my tax return yesterday and clicked on what I thought was the HMRC site to start the return. The site was in the same colours and asked for my unique ref no etc. Filling in the form was similar to previous years, only a bit easier, so I though they had simplified the site. Got to the end and there was an estimate to say that I had to pay £150. As this was an estimate I thought it was part payment for my tax. I have worked out anyway that my tax will only be around £350 - 400. So I paid it from the money put by for my tax.
Then, in my foggy, just recovering from flu state, realised that this £150 was a fee for submitting the return to a company called Tax Return Gateway. AAArgh....
So it's cost me £150 for something that I can do myself!!
I immediately phoned my bank to see if I could cancel the payment, but that wasn't possible and then phoned the Tax Return Gateway to see if I could cancel my submission and have a refund. Absolutely no refund as I had ticked acceptance of their T&C's.

I have tried phoning HMRC but all I get from them is that all lines are busy etc etc, told to phone another time and then the call is cut off. I can only phone when I am not working and that seems to be when they are busiest - obviously!

So what I'm now worried about is that my return may not be submitted to HMRC; if it is will it be in time; is Tax Return Gateway a 'bonefide' company or do they just take that money I have paid and run?

Has anyone else been as stupid?

TalkinPeace Fri 17-Jan-14 22:44:50

did you pay by credit card?
or by bank transfer?

hmrc will be no help but your credit card company, if reminded that they take 2% of pornographers turnover
might be more compliant

but why why why did you not check for the .gov.uk site address

arrgghh

Sorry dunno but how frustrating. And these shysters make their money out of tricking people, so don't feel too bad - they deliberately made their site look as real as possible.

Try Trading Standards wrt getting your money back, but I guess these tricksters will have covered themselves somehow.

Radio 4's Moneybox programme might be interested, or one of the newspaper personal finance pages - they are sometimes able to resolve problems.

willotess Sat 18-Jan-14 00:04:16

TalkinPeace - it was paid by debit card, otherwise I would have cancelled the credit card payment.
And don't you think I'm kicking myself for not checking I was on the proper website? You bet I am...I am normally so good at making sure I do everything right.

Going back onto the rogue site and looking at their T&C's, they have pretty much covered themselves against everything.

ktef Sat 18-Jan-14 06:36:35

Radio 4's money box programme did a piece on this! Loads of people paid the fee thinking they were paying their tax. You should listen to it. I can't remember when it was on, but I think a few weeks ago. Hopefully you can find it on their website. The company's website seems deliberately trying to look like it's the hmrc. Fuckers! And yes to trading standards.

ChablisLover Sat 18-Jan-14 06:52:05

Op - I'm sorry to hear this

It's so easy to be duped these days

I've no real advice other than make sure your tax returns filed with proper hmrc website or else you'll get £100 penalty for late filing

ChasingSquirrels Sat 18-Jan-14 09:03:07

Are you signed up for online self assessment with hmrc? If so you can login and check whether your return has been submitted.

specialsubject Sat 18-Jan-14 10:26:14

scream!! While it is an obvious scam, in the eyes of the law it may just be being overcharged for something useless. There's no law against that or no-one could sell anti-wrinkle cream.

it's not HMRC's problem, although do make very sure the return has been submitted. It will difficult to get through on the phone now with the January panic in progress. As mentioned, if you are registered online you can see if it has been submitted. If it hasn't, then you haven't received the service you paid for and can get help.

I would submit the return through the REAL government gateway to ensure you don't get fined for missing the deadline, then start dealing with the shysters. Try your bank again, escalating to someone higher up.

tribpot Sat 18-Jan-14 10:28:26

It does sounds like a very clever scam. Did you not notice you weren't asked for your Government Gateway password?

What is the www address of the shysters website? dp always leaves his tax returm to the last min and I dont want any costly mistakes!
Even if you pay the fee to this company, if they dont submit it to hmrc in time -or at all - then you will be fined. Its the individual s responsibility to ensure its sumbitted on time. Dp got fined once even though he paid an accountant to do it. (Hence why I do it now).
Somehow I doubt this lot are submitting them as if the forms seem simplified there may be information missing.

tribpot Sat 18-Jan-14 13:19:22

Assuming it's Tax Return Gateway, I have to say it doesn't look very like the HMRC website at least before you log in.

It does look reasonably legit, so at least there's a good chance your return will be submitted, but it's still a costly mistake sad

TalkinPeace Sat 18-Jan-14 14:06:33

SO MANY LIES on that web page
they should be reported to trading standards

The Managing Director, Matthew Stephen Mansell from Middlesex but who runs the companies from Godalming in Surrey should be brought to account
(whois lookup and then companies house webcheck)

SuedeEffectPochette Sun 19-Jan-14 00:31:55

Sorry to hear this happened to you. they are shits. I got caught out on a passport one - £276 for nothing...... very annoying!

willotess Sun 19-Jan-14 01:28:39

Thanks for your replies and support. I did get through to HMRC on the phone this morning and was told that the return does get sent through from this company but like some of you have said, I need to check.
She also said most of their calls have been about this company.
I put my mistake down to not being very well and not very with it. Thankfully i had all my figures calculated and written down clearly before I started and its only a little amount I claim for too otherwise the 'charges' would have been much higher. I have certainly learnt by it anyway!

LauraBridges Sun 19-Jan-14 10:23:28

Money box did a piece on this on R4 as someone mentioned above. They had a poor youjng student on who did a passport this way and had to pay the fee for the site plus the passport fee. In theory the service they give you is making the application easier so some of the sites I am afraid are lawful but I think they get misleadingly close to the official site.

I suspect someone should challenge this site under the distance selling regulations. Unless you are told you have no right to cancel when you are accessing the site and that the service will start right away possibly you might have a right to cancel within 7 days. It might be worth contacting the Office of Fair Trading and local trading standards officers about it as I think it's misleading advertising. I think they should be made to say on the home page in massives letter we are not the HMRC website and you have to pay fees if you use us.

Silverroses Thu 23-Jan-14 19:21:12

It may come as a relief to you that we also fell for this website and it seems that a lot of other people seem to have fallen for it. We also thought the amount which we paid was going toward settlement of our outstanding tax bill!! Have a look at the article below from the DailyMail by Jeff Prestridge which offers some helpful advice on trying to get your money back. We are writing a formal letter of complain and are writing to various authorities (including the Trading Standard Agency). If you have the time (and energy!) it would be great if you could also write to Jeff Prestridge who will give you advice on which authorities you can contact. Good luck!

http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/news/article-2538615/We-need-help-Help-stop-copycat-Government-websites-tricking-people-using-services.html

Read more: http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/news/article-2538615/We-need-help-Help-stop-copycat-Government-websites-tricking-people-using-services.html#ixzz2rFaMgoX3

Parliament also seems to finally be looking into the matter.

http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2013-14/592

https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/providing-better-information-and-protection-for-consumers/supporting-pages/misleading-and-aggressive-selling

Clairebell38 Thu 23-Jan-14 22:39:04

I am another idiot that got caught out by Tax Return Gateway and stupidly paid £500 fee thinking it was part of the £980 they said I owed HMRC. It was 11pm at night, I was tired, and panicking to get my return in. A very expensive mistake...!!! I feel such a fool and have been very upset about it.
I tried calling Tax Return Gateway, but the number they gave is no longer connected, and they have not replied to several emails I sent them. I suspect their address will no longer be valid now either...

I have contacted the Consumer Advice helpline and they have told me to use their sample letter to write a recorded delivery letter to the company quoting the 'Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982' and their breech of contract for not sending me a copy of my submitted tax return form. ie they have not provided the service I paid them for. If I send it recorded and they are no longer trading form the registered address, will they need to sign for the recorded delivery for the letter to be legal???

I hope I will be able to get somewhere with this, but I have a feeling I can say goodbye to my £500. The only good thing is that I have filed my tax return myself now, and the bill was approx £500 less than I thought it might be, so I had the money set aside.

I am normally so careful about these things and would normally have thought how could anyone be duped by such an obvious scam... well advice is never do things like this when tired and over worked!

TalkinPeace Thu 23-Jan-14 22:44:48

THe director of the company is also a director of Mesh Digital Limited
Mesh owns all of the shares in Tax Return Gateway
the address of Mesh is
5 Roundwood Avenue, Stockley Park, Uxbridge, Middlesex,UB11 1FF

so Middlessex trading standards and Surrey trading standards (due to the Godalming address) might be interested

willotess Fri 24-Jan-14 23:18:43

Silverroses and Clairebell - sorry you were caught out by these shites too. I have checked my account on HMRC and the return has not been submitted. I have emailed TRG and not had any replies and also tried phoning, but like you, discovered the number is no longer available.

I'll try the Consumer Advice helpline too, and follow up their suggestions, but I don't think I'll be seeing any of my money back, even though they haven't delivered the goods.

Must now do my tax return on the proper site.

Joanne1964 Wed 29-Jan-14 16:20:02

Me too, its a complete scam anyway I found a link to a site where u can see this corrupt individuals face
http://uk.linkedin.com/in/mattmansell

he owns companies to do with internet domain names so no doubt he has plenty of other names stored up so he can repeat this perfectly legal scam, always the little people who suffer no doubt he will get a CBE or knighthood

tribpot Thu 30-Jan-14 13:09:33

I saw this article in today's Grauniad and was reminded of this thread.

WhatYouTalkingAbout Sat 01-Feb-14 15:28:16

It was the top search when you google tax return or self assessment.
I clicked on it but it says clearly, on the first page, that this is not an official government site so I didn't go any further.

Nicenicebaby Sun 02-Feb-14 09:37:30

I fell for this too - I thought something like that could never happen to me but I honestly thought I was on the right website as it asked for the unique id & is called a gateway just like the other site. I was in a rush and trying to find time between working full time & juggling the children & feeling awful being pregnant. I have lost £500 and now desperately trying to reclaim it.
I have written to Who4 who are apparently behind the site, be also to trading standards.
Good luck to anyone trying to reclaim the money. To anyone who says it's a stupid mistake, yes you are right but until it happens to you, you think that people must be so idiotic to fall for it - I know I did.

firedengines Sun 02-Feb-14 09:59:40

I went on the same one but realised too , it comes up as the top search result i think , was certainly high up.

Message on that site today is

"Due to overwhelming customer demand for our service and the close proximity to the January 31st Self-Assessment deadline, we have taken the decision to suspend our Self-Assessment Tax Return Submission service to new clients at this time. This decision has been made to ensure that we deliver the highest level and quality of service to our existing clients.
The tax returns of all existing clients have been submitted prior to the January 31st deadline and our staff are available to assist existing clients with the Return process both before and after the deadline. Existing clients may contact us by responding to any email correspondence received or by emailing us at info@taxreturngateway.com.
If you are not yet a client, unfortunately you will be unable to submit your return using our service prior to this year’s 31st January deadline. You may wish to submit your return directly and without assistance at the HMRC official website. If you require assistance, you may wish to locate a qualified accountant or contact HMRC directly for advice.
We look forward to making our service available to new clients again in the near future."

Lets hope that is business talk for we are being investigated sad

My mum was almost got on a similar scam for the European Health Card.

willotess Sun 02-Feb-14 15:32:41

That's a load of bol***ks. I have tried emailing them loads but have had no replies. They did not submit my tax - I did it properly myself four days before the deadline.
I too have written to Who4 - there are a couple of names to write to who are, apparently involved. I have also contacted the police fraud helpline and completed a form on line and have written to Trading Standards. No replies as yet.

And yes, I have always said I wouldn't be caught out by these sites but as NiceNiceBaby says the wording, colours and logos are very similar. Having not been on the HMRC site since my last tax return I just though HMRC had updated and simplified their site.

Now I'm just worried that my identity is compromised. They have every detail that could be passed on for identity fraud.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now