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There is a warrant out for your arrest!!!
This morning I was in a meeting with Richard Gray of Elysium Law a barrister friend of mine.
In the middle of the meeting Mr Gray’s mobile rang.
It was an 0300 number. “HMRC” I stated.
Mr Gray answered the phone. It was an automated message, but it very quickly it became apparent that a warrant had been issued for his arrest… for unspecified tax fraud and evasion.
Of course, this was worrying for Mr Gray – being a barrister he realised that a warrant being out for his arrest was quite a serious matter.
He decided to push ‘1’ and was transferred to a customer service adviser.
After having to provide his address to our friend in the call centre, our friend asked ‘why he had done such a thing’
Mr Gray responded by saying he ‘would never do such a thing.’ After all, he knew that ‘HMRC are very powerful people’.
Luckily, the debt was only £1,700 and if he paid now then the problem would ‘go away’.
“You would be able to cancel the outstanding warrant, then?’ asked Mr Gray. Thankfully, our customer service operative was able to do this immediately from his call centre in India.
Just as he was about to get his credit card out to pay ‘his fair share’ our friend made a revelation. “I am very good at telling those that are pretending their part”
“What?” asked Mr Gray.
“You are pretending, Sir”
Shortly afterwards, the call ended. Not before Mr Gray gave our friend some free legal advice. Repeatedly.
It has to be said that this advice was perhaps not something you would learn on the Bar course!
Despite HMRC and the Government’s recent backslapping that they are putting these scammers ‘out of business’ – it is clear they are not.
Of course, it is easy to make light of these calls.
However, if they were to call someone who has just had a VAT inspection, was under enquiry or was particularly vulnerable then it is easy to see how they lure people in.
If HMRC think you owe them money, they will write to you. If they suspect your affairs are not in order, they will write to you. You will not be told, out of the blue, there is a warrant for you arrest.
I always advise my clients not to speak to HMRC on the phone. Politely, ask them to write or, if applicable, to contact the accountant / tax agent.
We have reported the above number.
If you have any queries about dealing with HMRC then please get in touch