Voluntary Sector Advisers
Voluntary Sector Advisers
How TaxAid can help Voluntary Sector Advisers
TaxAid is a small independent charity that provides free, professional tax advice to those on low incomes. We are a safety net for those who cannot be assisted by HMRC because they need independent advice, or calculations, or they are in dispute with HMRC.
By low income we mean those on incomes of approximately £20,000 or less (before tax, individual income, with some flexibility to give one-off advice on tax debt where our income remit exceeded).
TaxAid or HMRC?
It is important to note that TaxAid is not an alternative to HMRC as a source of giving and receiving information. Clients with queries requiring information, such as “is my PAYE code correct?” “do I need to complete a tax return?” should be given HMRC’s contact number 0300 200 3300 ( 0300 200 3310 for self assessment issues).
TaxAid helps in those cases where the issue has not been resolved with HMRC. TaxAid’s advisers are qualified to advise on the full range of UK tax issues, other than tax planning and corporate tax (i.e. related to limited companies). The main issues we advise on are situations where HMRC cannot help, relating to Self Assessment, Tax Debt and PAYE underpayments. This would include:
- Help with calculations (for example in order to file a tax return) or technical tax advice
- If independent advice is needed, for example for someone facing legal proceedings for non-payment, subject to an HMRC enquiry, charged with a penalty or in dispute with HMRC
- If the issue is complex or long-running, for example when the issue covers several years, there are incomplete records, the client can’t pay the demand or has income that has not been disclosed
- Where the taxpayer does not understand HMRC’s explanations, correspondence or demands
Note: we do not advise on Tax Credits, and those who are aged 60+ are generally signposted to Tax Help for Older People for advice.
How to get in touch
We have a Specialist Advice line for front-line advisers to contact us on behalf of their clients:
Specialist Advice Line 0300 330 5477 (Mon – Fri 10am-12 noon and 2 – 4pm). Please do not give this number to clients.
The main way for clients to approach us for advice is through our helpline (0345 120 3779 Mon – Fri 10am to 12 noon) or by sending us an email query –http://taxaid.org.uk/pages/contact-us.
In many cases we can provide the necessary advice by phone/email.
Where there is a need for further advice we can offer face-to-face appointments in London, Birmingham, Manchester and the North East. Alternatively we can, in appropriate cases, obtain the client’s authority to contact HMRC on the client’s behalf, and handle the case by correspondence.
TaxAid can offer Text Relay Assist and Talk-By-Text for unresolved tax problems for those with hearing difficulties. Use our website contact to alert us to your needs http://taxaid.org.uk/pages/contact-us.
A new approach at HMRC
The decision whether to send clients to HMRC or TaxAid needs to take into account HMRC’s service delivery model for people who need extra support, the “Need Extra Support” (NES) service.
Access to NES is initially by telephone, via HMRC’s usual contact number 0300 200 3300. Some advice agencies have direct hand-off arrangements for their clients who meet the criteria for extra help. This service is explained on TaxAid’s online training for advice agencies (see below).
HMRC has introduced an online appointment booking form (available nationally) to allow individuals who are unable to use the phone because of a hearing or speech disability to make an appointment http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/tools/visits/index.htm.
TaxAid provides training for the Voluntary Sector, primarily so that front-line advisers can triage cases and make appropriate decisions on which cases can be resolved by contacting HMRC, and which cases require the independent professional advice that TaxAid can offer.
Training is accessed via our website (see home page/advisers’ learning resources): they are free and accessible to anyone wishing to understand the issues underlying tax problems and how they should be handled. The “Talking Tax Debt” series was developed for those struggling to understand how to handle their tax demands, and are signed for the hard of hearing.
To find out more, go to http://taxaid.org.uk/guides/voluntary-sector-advisers/on-line-training