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Will Trading Standards be able to end Government “Copycat” websites

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HMRC had a number of copycats trying to offer self assessment returns, here is an extract from the Tax Agents Blog in January…

With the 31 January deadline for filing SA returns fast approaching, the media has been asking us for our view on ‘copycat websites’, where companies offer to file returns for customers in return for large fees – sometimes up to £400. These companies pay to advertise their link at the top of search engines, so customers find them first when searching for ‘HMRC’, ‘tax return’ and so on.

I thought I’d let you know that our view on this hasn’t changed. It costs nothing to file a tax return. It’s important that anyone thinking of using a tax return agent is clear in advance about fees payable – and can satisfy themselves that they will receive the service they are signing up for.

Misleading websites that try and palm themselves off as legitimate government services are to come under the spotlight from Trading Standards  (4 March 2014) as Consumer Minister Jenny Willott confirmed extra funding for them to help tackle these rogue traders.

The Minister has committed an additional £120,000 this financial year to National Trading Standards Board (NTSB) so they can investigate these websites. This money will help NTSB also tackle websites that exaggerate the nature of the services they provide or deliberately underplay that people can get them for free or at a lower cost from official sources.

Further details from TSI http://www.tradingstandards.gov.uk/extra/news-item.cfm/newsid/1429

Will this end copycats?

steve@bicknells.net


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