What does HMRC stand for? When was it formed? And how do they contact you.
Great questions. Let’s find out below. 👇
What does ‘HMRC’ mean?
HMRC stands for Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs. It’s the UK’s tax, payments and customs authority, responsible for raising income for the United Kingdom’s public services via the taxation of businesses and individuals.
You might hear it referred to as ‘the tax office’ or personified as ‘the taxman’.
When was HMRC formed?
It feels like HMRC has been around forever, but it was actually only established as a new department via an Act of Parliament in 2005.
Prior to this, it was two distinct departments; the Inland Revenue and Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise.
What are HMRC's responsibilities?
Although synonymous with tax in the UK, HMRC’s range of services is broad and deep. In fact, it’s an absolute certainty that HM Revenue and Customs will impact you personally and professionally, in one shape or form, during your lifetime.
Don’t believe us? Just take a look at this list of responsibilities:
- Tax, including: Income Tax, Corporation Tax, Capital Gains Tax, Inheritance Tax, Insurance Premium Tax, Stamp, Land and Petroleum Revenue Taxes
- Value Added Tax (VAT), including import VAT
- Customs duty
- Excise duties
- Trade Statistics
- National Insurance
- Tax Credits
- Child Benefit
- Enforcement of the National Minimum Wage
- Recovery of Student Loan repayments
How much does HMRC collect in tax?
In 2018-19, HMRC collected a staggering £622.8 billion in taxes.
From an individual point of view, how much tax you pay depends on two things: How much you earn above the tax-free Personal Allowance (£12,500 in the current tax year, 2019-20); and how much of your income falls within each tax band.
The income tax rates and bands are:
|Band||Taxable Income||Tax Rate|
|Personal Allowance||Up to £12,500||0%|
|Basic Rate||£12,501 to £50,000||20%|
|Higher Rate||£50,001 to £150,000||40%|
|Additional Rate||Over £150,000||45%|
You can view the full list of allowances and tax reliefs on the HMRC website.
How do HMRC contact you?
HM Revenue and Customs are very particular about how they contact you. It’s typically in writing, but they can also reach out via phone and email. When they do contact you, they will always quote your unique taxpayer reference (UTR) number.
However, they will never ask for your bank account details, personal information, or contact you by email or text for:
- Tax rebates
- Bank account details
Beware: How to spot HMRC phone, text and email scams
Because HMRC is such a large and important organisation, it’s often used by scammers to target vulnerable members of society.
They’ve been known to send automated voice messages purporting to be from HMRC, suggesting that there’s a warrant out for your arrest or that you’re under investigation. The real HMRC would never do this. If you receive a call like this, you should not engage, and instead, end it immediately. You should then report the incident to Action Fraud.
Another popular approach by scammers is to spoof emails and text messages so that they appear to be from HMRC. The content of these messages usually relate to promises of a hefty tax rebate and often request personal information to complete the transaction. Again, these messages can be safely ignored as HMRC will never ask for your bank account details in this manner.
If you’re contacted out of the blue by someone claiming to represent HMRC, and you’re worried that it’s a scam, you should always hang up and call them back directly on 0300 200 3300.
It’s always better to be safe than sorry!
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