Self-Assessment Warning: Thousands Unable to Complete Tax Form by February Deadline | Personal finance | Finance
Freelancers, contractors and small businesses have had their email addresses, phone numbers, P60s, national insurance numbers and passports leaked online. It comes after a ransomware attack against at least five financial firms, according to accounting firm Gorilla. As a result, thousands of people are struggling with their online accounts and are unable to complete and submit their self-assessment forms by the deadline.
Recently, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) pushed back the deadline to accommodate more taxpayers, which has just been extended until February 28, 2022.
Dustin Gorski, 35, is a freelance software engineer from south-west London who was a client of one of the companies targeted by the cyberattack.
The freelancer used the firm to prepare his year-end accounts and VAT returns, but since this incident he has changed firms to do his books.
Mr Goriski explained: “There was no mention of a cybersecurity incident informing customers that their data might have been compromised.
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“I was extremely frustrated because very quickly customers like me learned from Twitter and other online forums that the entire group that oversees the company I worked with was hit by a ransomware attack. “
He added: “From what I can tell, the attackers who hacked accounting firms have already released parts of the stolen customer data on the dark web.
“It’s been confirmed on several online forums and it doesn’t take much effort to find it.”
Despite the severity of the data breach, Mr. Goriski had received no initial correspondence from his old accounting form informing him of the cyberattack once it had occurred.
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Daniel Fallows, director of accountancy firm Gorilla, said: ‘So far we have been contacted by hundreds of concerned entrepreneurs and SMEs who are concerned that they may be able to submit their HMRC self-assessment in time for the later extended deadline. this month.
“We advise any entrepreneurs or businesses affected by this issue to contact a qualified accountant as soon as possible so that they have sufficient time to submit a self-assessment statement before the end of February.
“This ransomware attack is a major concern for freelancers, SMBs and the accountancy industry as a whole.
“Our sympathies go out to the companies targeted by these attacks and to the thousands of SMEs, freelancers and entrepreneurs affected by this problem.”
Express.co.uk has contacted HMRC for comment.