Phillipson Hardwick Advisory LTD

On Monday, I received a letter from HMRC showing tax calculations dating back to 2018, with a sentence that said ‘what happens next’ .. 

‘We will send a cheque to PHILLIPSON HARDWICK ADVISORY LTD for the amount shown within 14 days of this letter’. 

The letter was dated 20/11, and I received it on 27/11.  

I had no idea what this was about, who Phillipson Hardwick were and what was this rebate about. 

Google gave me a number in Manchester that I rang to be told ‘no advisors are available, please try later’ and promptly hung up on me.  

Tried ringing back half a dozen times and then tried HMRC.  

HMRC told me they had received a legal document (R40) signed by me and a box ticked asking them to send the payment to PHA.  I explained that a) I have never signed anything pertaining to tax rebate; b) I’ve never heard of PHA and c) I have never asked anyone to do a tax claim for me.   The girl told me I had to ring Action Fraud and ring HMRC back with the crime number in order to put a stop to the cheque issuing, which I immediately did.  

The man I spoke to action fraud told me to ask HMRC to double check that I was entitled to the rebate and to ask what had been claimed (ie working from home or expenses) as if they had been claimed for and I’m not entitled to make these claims, HMRC could, later down the line come after me for the money back.  This terrified me as you can imagine. 

I phoned HMRC, gave them the crime number and was told I would now receive a callback from their specialist team.  This all took place Monday.  

I gave them the day on Tuesday to ring me back and heard nothing.  

So on Wednesday I phoned HMRC again.  To be told there’s nothing they can do, the cheque issued to  PHA on 21/11 and I had to contact the Financial Conduct Authority. 

I rang financial conduct authority, but they couldn’t help me because this company isn’t governed by them. They sent me to the information commissioners office, but ICO couldn’t help me because they will only deal with the data protection aspect ie how did this company got my details, BUT before they could help me, I had find out from PHA how they got my details.. I can’t get through to the PHA and the only email address is a generic ‘info@…’ 

I have no idea who PHA is, or if the number I am ringing is the right number.  Their website says they’re registered with ICO, but the ICO could only find a solicitors company with the name. 

I was starting to worry that PHA had made this claim on behalf without my knowledge and HMRC pays them and then realised it was a mistake and then come after me for the amount they stated!  

I spent the evening worrying and crying and not sleeping!  

A solicitor friend of mine suggested I ring HMRC again and insist that they put a stop on the cheque and send me the document purported to be signed by me. 

Today, finally, I managed to get someone at HMRC who listened to me, understood my fears and put a stop on the cheque immediately.  He went on to explain that the R40 claim was in relation to PPI on any savings, investments or dividends I had received since 2018.  I was shocked!  I do have, nor have I ever had savings, investments or dividends, so what PPI could they possibly be claiming.  

Has anyone else been in this position? If so, what was the outcome? 
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Comments

  • DullGreyGuy
    DullGreyGuy Posts: 10,196 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Name Dropper
    PPI would never have attached to those products and so maybe it was another or?

    Did you make a PPI claim? Did you pay tax on the statutory interest that was added?

    If you look on here you'll find many stories of people clicking on adverts on Facebook and such about making reclaims, most admit to having filled in an enquiry form or such but then never hearing anything else until the HMRC letter arrives
  • Thanks for your reply.  It was HMRC that told me it was for PPI for savings, investments and dividends. But either way, I am none the wiser.  

    I made a PPI claim over 10 years ago, well I say ‘I’, it was actually my mother (bless her soul) who made the PPI claims on my behalf.  She was a fully fledged fan of Mr Lewis and followed his advice almost to the letter at times.  She contacted the banks, filled out the forms and point blank refused to use an agent, because they would take a percentage for doing what she could do herself.  

    And 10 years ago, my mother wouldn’t have had access to google, Facebook or any other advert on the internet as she simply didn’t have a computer or smart phone.  

    She passed away last year, so I’m pretty sure she hasn’t filled out any enquiry form or signed an R40 for me in the last month and I know I haven’t, so how have these people got my details?  



  • I also thought this was a scam - but I was wrong!

    Similar to OP I got an unexpected letter from HMRC offering a tax refund of <£100 and saying the cheque would go to Philipson Hardwick Advisory ("PHA").

    I checked all my email accounts and could not find an email from them anywhere. This reinforced my scam conclusion.

    Then I did a lot of googling, read the forums, etc, and someone asked if I'd clicked on a Facebook/other social media ad offering a free HMRC refund check service. I saw others who had received payouts from PHA.

    Ah-ah I thought. I did have the vaguest memory of clicking on an advert like that (why not? it was free, no win-no fee, etc). This would have been a few months ago.

    To my surprise, I then got a text from them (PHA) to say they'd received a cheque from HMRC, please log into their website to get the difference paid. PHA required 1 form of ID and 1 proof of address, which I provided. I've not yet received the payment but I will follow up on this forum when I do.

    I also looked into the firm. As others have said, are not FCA regulated (they are a Solicitors specializing in PPI and other claims, not a finance company, so I can't see that FCA regulation applies).

     They are "authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under SRA 656089". I then checked out the SRA and searched for that number and the company came up. Their head of legal and head of finance and administration are named.



    In my view, barring driving to Manchester and checking out the offices, they seem to be as legitimate as one can be as far as an online search goes.

    IIRC they were up-front about their fee being 48% in the small print. TBH I was not expecting to get anything; and I would not have known where to begin to claim it back, so I'm happy with the result for literally no effort on my behalf.

    So in conclusion, I am one of those who likes a freebie at no apparent risk. I got a reasonable PPI payment and so did the company doing the paperwork for me a few years ago. I see there are others who prefer to do the work themselves. That's a personal choice.

    If I were PHA, I would however make a few changes:
    1. EMAIL the people who have filled in your enquiry form. They will then have a record of their interactions with you. Also remind them in the email what they've signed up for and how to cancel if they so choose
    2. Get more people to answer the phones or invest in an answering service or chatbot to manage queries from nervous/forgetful clients like me
    3. If the claim is successful, email rather than text the client. It just seems more legit.
    4. Draft a reply to MSE to clarify any misinformation on this forum.

    Hope this helps someone!


  • Similar to OP I got an unexpected letter from HMRC offering a tax refund of <£100 and saying the cheque would go to Philipson Hardwick Advisory ("PHA").

    HMRC don't just "offer" tax refunds.

    They are based on the information supplied to them, whether it be from an employer, DWP, bank/building society or yourself (or your agent/accountant).

    Socks the refund based on the correct information i.e. you did actually get some statutory interest (paid alongside a PPI refund) in the tax year the refund is for?
  • I have just come across this in a prof capacity, a client had a sucessful PPI claim a number of years ago (not with Phillipson Hardwick Advisory).  She was contacted last year by PHA who knew all about her PPI claim and advised that they could also get her a tax refund, at the time she thought it was the same company that dealt with the PPI (we have no idea if they are associated), fast forward a couple of months, she has received PAYE calculations from HMRC including expenses she has not claimed and declaring income she has not earned, I have no idea where PHA have their information from but some of it is correct which I find concerning.  They have also managed to get agent authority from HMRC and client does not recall signing 64-8 or providing authority code which leaves me wondering if they set up Govt gateway accounts with info gathered from PPI claim and assign themselves.
    NB: HMRC do reconcillations via PAYE and make repayments but they do not assume expenses etc, this appears to have happened as a result of R40 claims
  • I received an unexpected letter from HMRC thanking me for my 'tax assessment calculation amendment'. I have/had not sent an amendment. Rather - HMRC have been contacted by Phillipson Hardwick Advisory - a law firm in Manchester. This law firm sent 4 R40 forms to HMRC (I don't understand that they are really) with my private details on them - and a docusign signature - where did they get that?? Resultantly the calculation of my interest earned over the last 4 years has soared to £13,935. In 21-22 my interest earned was £18.19!! And similar these last 4 years. What is Phillipson Hardwick doing? Where is the scam? Because all that happens is I might have to pay more tax to HMRC. I don't get it but I am fighting it. HMRC and Action Fraud have been great - so helpful. Watch this space 
  • dunstonh
    dunstonh Posts: 116,242 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post Combo Breaker
    edited 3 March 2023 at 5:59PM
     with my private details on them - and a docusign signature - where did they get that?
    Docusign e-signatures include the audit trail. You can compare it with your information to see if they have used your details/computer.

     I don't get it but I am fighting it. HMRC and Action Fraud have been great - so helpful. Watch this space 
    You may also wish to consider reporting it to the data commissioner for a data protection breach if you believe they have your data unlawfully and have used it in a way to cause you financial loss or distress.

    I am an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). The comments I make are just my opinion and are for discussion purposes only. They are not financial advice and you should not treat them as such. If you feel an area discussed may be relevant to you, then please seek advice from an Independent Financial Adviser local to you.
  • Very useful comments here. My experience started with an email from The Claims Guys, my original PPI claim agents, telling me they had passed on my details to PHA a firm of solicitors. I then received an email from PHA asking for details of my successful PPI claims. Little or no personal info was required, so I was happy to comply. But I also received several more similar requests after the first return which aroused some disquiet and first suspicions. No confirmation of receipt of email info was ever issued.

    This morning I received an email from PHA telling me they had received the monies from HMRC and were ready to transfer to my bank account. They asked for very sensitive info:

    Your National Insurance number
    Your date of birth
    Photo ID - driving license or passport.
    Proof of Address - a utility or council tax bill dated within the last 3 months.

    A classic scam format !!!

    It appears from previous correspondents that PHA is, in fact, a legitimate organisation. If that is the case, they are seriously deficient in communication. Confirmation of receipt of the claim is essential for clear continuity of the process as is some explanation of their legal status.

    I have consulted their website, that of the Solicitors Registration Authority and the full Trustpilot report. I am somewhat hesitantly reassured and will continue with the process.

  • Haylily
    Haylily Posts: 2 Newbie
    First Post
    pyor66 - can I ask how you got on with this I have the exact email and I am worried that this is not legit, do they really need all of that personal information to release the funds to you, are the banking on people not replying.  I have had the email from HMRC and I have signed into the Gateway and can't work out how they would have got a refund.  I did claim PPi back years ago.

    I am so unsure what to do, seems like a lot of ID to confirm.  
  • Alpine_Star
    Alpine_Star Posts: 1,354 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker First Post
    Scam alert.

    Had PHA had your legitimate authorisation to claim tax on your behalf, they would already have had to satisfy themselves of your identity.
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