Tax rebate firm Tax Credits Ltd shut down by HMRC after MSE investigation – here's what you need to know
Tax rebate firm Tax Credits Ltd has been shut down after HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) found it had committed serious anti-money laundering breaches. The closure follows a MoneySavingExpert.com (MSE) investigation that also found the firm was alleged to have submitted claims using forged signatures.
It is now a criminal offence for the firm to trade as a tax rebate agent, which, for a fee, help submit tax repayment claims.
An MSE investigation published in July 2022 revealed that hundreds of people had complained about being duped by Tax Credits Ltd, with HMRC later confirming it would refund 60,000 people who had been caught out by the firm. We'd put key concerns from readers to HMRC and officially reported the firm to the Information Commissioner's Office for its handling of customer's personal data.
Commenting on Tax Credits Ltd being closed down, Angela MacDonald - HMRC’s deputy chief executive and second permanent secretary - said: "We’d like to thank MoneySavingExpert for highlighting its readers’ experiences with Tax Credits Limited, and its guidance to readers to help ensure they get the money they’re entitled to when they make tax refund claims."
This is why Tax Credits Ltd has been shut down
HMRC said Tax Credits Ltd had "failed to carry out risk assessments, have the correct policies, controls and procedures, carry out appropriate staff training and failed to provide registration information".
Ms MacDonald added: "Tax Credits Ltd has ignored its responsibilities under the anti-money laundering measures designed to protect us all from financial crime. We will not allow a small number of bad actors to tarnish the reputation of the whole tax agent sector."
In 2022, we sent HMRC numerous Tax Credits Ltd case studies and examples outlining key complaints we'd uncovered about the firm. These included reports that the firm had:
- Forged signatures to claim back customer refunds. We spoke to many people who told us they believed their signature had been forged or used without their permission.
- Used adverts that had similar fonts and colours to official HMRC ads. This led some claimants to believe they were dealing directly with the Government's official service.
- Used unclear terms and conditions. This may have meant some customers didn't know what they were signing up for.
HMRC will refund your money automatically
The tax office paused any outstanding claims for tax rebates made via Tax Credits Ltd, which charged a 48% fee for its services, while it initially investigated the firm.
It has now confirmed that anyone still waiting for their rebate will be refunded directly by HMRC. If you've not had any money back you'll get the full amount from HMRC. If you've already had 52% back from Tax Credits Ltd, you will not receive anything further from HMRC at this time. HMRC will contact affected customers directly if this changes.
HMRC said it will contact all those affected by the end of March and will make refunds automatically - meaning you won't have to do anything to get your money back.
Remember, you don't need to use a third-party claims firm to get a tax rebate
You can go straight to HMRC. It's free and all you need to do is fill in some details online, whether you're claiming tax relief (at gov.uk/tax-relief-for-employees) or a tax rebate (at gov.uk/claim-tax-refund). If you don't have access to the internet, you can also call HMRC on 0300 200 3300.
Watch out for copycat websites - these need to make clear they aren't affiliated with the Government and will say this somewhere on their site. Also, check the URL, if it doesn't end in "gov.uk", it's not a Government body.
Plus, watch out for small print, such as: "I unconditionally assign my repayment of tax (for tax years ending 2019/20, 2020/21, 2021/22 and 2022/23) to…. [tax refund company]," warns charity Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG). This statement gives firms permission to take payment from previous tax years too.
For further help on claiming tax relief see our guides on: