Tax / Fraud Scam Phonecall

Tax / Fraud Scam Phonecall

There is currently a telephone scam where an automated recorded message (claiming to be from HMRC), states that HMRC are trying to contact you regarding either an outstanding tax liability or a possible fraud (the message sometimes even mentions a possible arrest warrant). The recipient is asked to press “1” to speak to the officer dealing with the case.

The call is a scam so please do NOT press 1, or reply to the message.

It has even been reported that in some instances, the call appears to come from a genuine HMRC helpline number 0345 300 3900 and we have heard that this number has possibly been cloned.

If Cogent prepare your tax return, the covering letter that we issue with your tax return will have all the details regarding:

  • How much you need to pay
  • When you need to make the payment by
  • How to make the payment

Send us your Self-Assessment Tax Return Questionnaire by 31 December to save 50 per cent on your basic tax return fee


If you would like Cogent to prepare and file your 2017/18 tax return and you have not yet sent us your completed personal tax return questionnaire, you will need to do so by 31 December 2018 to benefit from our discounted fee.

The standard charge including VAT for a basic tax return is £240. Questionnaires received by 31 December 2018 will receive a 50 per cent discount on the basic tax return, charged at £120; any returns received after 31 December 2018 will be charged at the full rate of £240.

Please note, more complicated tax returns where additional work or supplements are required, will be subject to additional charges.

  • It is important to remember that even if your limited company has or is to be closed, it does not mean you are no longer required to file a Self-Assessment tax return. Only HMRC can release you from this responsibility and they will only do so providing you have no other sources of untaxed income.
  • If you have a second shareholder, they may also need to file a tax return, even if they haven’t previously; this is due to the changes to dividend tax from April 2016 which affect many dividends over £5,000 (£2,000 in 18/19).

Our Cogent deadlines have been set so that we can complete your return in time to meet the HM Revenue & Customs’ online filing deadline of 31 January 2019. Penalties for late filing of tax returns can be as much as £1,600, even when there is no tax due, so please ensure your tax return is filed on time, whether you ask Cogent to prepare it for you, or you have made other arrangements

You can request a questionnaire by emailing

Please complete the questionnaire and return it together with any attachments to

You are required to file a tax return if:-

  • You have been asked to file one by HMRC
  • You have a tax liability for the year (e.g. tax on dividends or higher rate tax, or if you have any income which has not been taxed at source)
  • You have a new source of income that needs to be declared


Private sector IR35 reform to be delayed until 2020

On Monday 29 October, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced as part of his Autumn Budget announcements that the extension of recent IR35 rules to the private sector would be delayed until April 2020.

The news should come as welcome relief to many contractors who previously feared that the extension of the reforms would be rolled out much sooner.

As part of his Budget announcements, the Chancellor explained that implementing such changes too soon would prove problematic for both contractors and businesses. As such, it has now been confirmed that the changes will not only be delayed, but that only “medium-sized and large businesses” will be affected.

Mr Hammond said: “The Government has carefully considered all of the responses received and we are now in a position to propose extending rules similar to the April 2017 public sector off-payroll working reform to the private sector.

“Having listened to concerns, the changes for the private sector will be introduced from April 2020 for medium-sized and large businesses only,” he added.

What do the changes mean?

It is thought that the upcoming changes, which are expected to ‘mirror’ those of the public sector, will shift the responsibility for determining IR35 status.

This will mean that from 6 April 2020 onwards, any contractors engaged with a large or medium-sized client will have their IR35 status determined by that client. However, those engaged to any small businesses will be able to continue operating as per usual, and will remain responsible for determining their own status.

In instances involving medium-sized or larger businesses where IR35 is found to apply, the ‘fee payer’ will be held responsible for deducting any National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and PAYE at source from any income paid to the contractor.

According to reports, a further consultation into the matter is due to be published “in the coming months.”

This consultation is expected to further outline the new rules and how they will operate. So far, it has been confirmed that the definition of “medium and large clients” will be similar to that outlined in the Companies Act 2006. This Act requires at least two of the following conditions to apply before a company is deemed medium or large:

  • It has a net turnover of more than £10.2 million.
  • It has a balance sheet totalling more than £5.1 million.
  • It employees 50 employees or more.

As part of the Budget announcements, a response to previous consultations has also been released, which documents as many as 275 responses from stakeholders of all shapes and sizes.

What should contractors do now?

Private sector contractors need to take note of the new changes and ensure they continue to take responsibility for determining their own IR35 status ahead of April 2020.

Contractors should also continue to carry out regular contractor reviews and ensure they are protected against any enquiries.

UK mothers increasingly turning towards freelancing

A new study highlighted in Forbes magazine this month reveals that there are now as many as 287,000 mothers freelancing in the UK – a 70 per cent rise on the number recorded this time a decade ago.

According to the highly influential magazine, one of the reasons women with children are increasingly turning towards contracting and freelancing is in an attempt to combat the growing problem of ‘maternity discrimination’.

Up-to-date figures suggest that 54,000 women in the UK lose their jobs due to pregnancy or new motherhood every single year, leaving many new mothers in a very difficult situation indeed.

At this stage, many mothers feel more inclined to accept redundancy packages rather than ‘kick up a fuss’ with their boss, which they fear could have implications for their future career options.

Due to this, an increasing number of mothers are setting up as freelancers – and are fast realising that this way of working is actually much better suited to them, delivering a more flexible work/life balance and enabling them to spend more time with their children as and when appropriate.

According to Forbes, UK mothers now account for around 15 per cent of all of the nation’s freelancers – a number which appears to be rapidly increasing as more and more begin to recognise the fantastic benefits of being their own boss.

MPs shocked by HMRC’s ‘aggression’ towards taxpayers

HM Revenue and Customs’ (HMRC) level of aggression towards taxpayers has shocked MPs.

Evidence revealed by the Finance Bill Sub-Committee found that there have been a number of complaints about ‘aggressive’ abuse of powers and failures to give adequate information to taxpayers or explain their rights.

Ruth Stanier, Director General at HMRC’s customer strategy and tax division, defended the Revenue’s approach, ensuring the committee that “we want to help taxpayers get tax right and we want to apply the law fairly”.

She added that HMRC’s objective is to settle disputes according to it’s published litigation and settlement strategy.

Last year, HMRC received 77,000 complaints, with 54 per cent upheld in-full or in-part.

Only six per cent of the complaints reached the second tier of the process, and less than 1,000 went all the way to the adjudicator, representing a 15 per cent decrease on the previous year (when 39 per cent were upheld).

The House of Lords Sub-Committee also questioned HMRC about it’s accelerated payment notices (APNs) regime.

Lord Forsyth of Drumlean said HMRC is “risking driving people into bankruptcy” under the regime, as it can demand tax it believes is owed without having to first establish there is a tax liability before an independent tax tribunal or court.

At present, taxpayers only have 90 days to pay the amount demanded in their APN with no right of appeal.

An HMRC spokesperson said: “All of HMRC’s powers are given to us by Parliament and are subject to appropriate checks and balances. We use the powers we have in the interests of the vast majority of individuals and businesses that play by the rules”.

And finally…

A man who spent three days ‘living life as a goat’ in an effort to “take a break from being human” has written a new book about the life-changing experience.

Mr Thomas Thwaites, who has become more affectionately known as “goat man,” used a science grant to help develop prosthetic hooved limbs which would enable him to realise his dream of walking among goats.

“I went to a goat farm in the Alps and had some prosthetics made by a doctor at the University of Salford prosthetics clinic, including prosthetic hooves and prosthetic back legs,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Todayprogramme.

The 34-year-old explained that when he was a child, he always envied the lives of animals, who didn’t have to go to school.

After an afternoon of admiring his niece’s “happy, joyous” dog, these unusual thoughts came flooding back to him and he started thinking about how nice it would be “just to have a break” from the stress of human adulthood.

After penning a letter to the Wellcome Trust outlining his dream, Mr Thwaites was surprised to be offered a small arts grant towards his initially very tongue-in-cheek idea.

“It called my bluff, I suppose,” he said.

Nine months and £1,200 later, he was wearing prosthetic limbs and living on a grass-only diet in an Alpine field – an experience he describes as a “special kind of time.”

Mr Thwaites managed to maintain his alternative lifestyle for three full days before returning to normal human life.

He has since published a unique book entitled GoatMan: How I Took A Holiday From Being a Human.