PLEASE NOTE: The charity TaxAid advises only those people on low incomes whose problems cannot be resolved with HMRC.

Helpline Adviser Role Profile

Helpline Adviser Role Profile

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Helpline Advisers Role Profile

The Helpline Adviser would undertake a two hour session on the helpline. The number of helpline sessions undertaken can vary depending on time available.
The helpline session involves answering the queries presented by callers in the two hour time slot, identifying the tax issue, determining if the caller can self help or if further support is needed. To provide further support, the Adviser has to determine if the caller meets the TaxAid remit criteria. Where additional help can be offered the Adviser organises the additional help.

The Helpline Adviser prepares a record of each call, writing the records may take from one to one and a half hours for each two hour helpline session.

Key Responsibilities:

• To take a two hour helpline session, answering calls controlled by a call handling system on which a queuing system operates.

• To provide support for the callers, either to help themselves wherever possible, provide additional information, often by the preparation of an email, or provide further support by arranging a face to face appointment for the caller, arranging for casework to be undertaken, transferring a call to HMRCs extra support service or transferring the call to Tax Help for Older People where appropriate.

• To write up notes of the calls taken on the TaxAid database on the day of the call.

• To undertake, as required the relevant paperwork, where additional support is being arranged, such as drafting an email to provide further information, preparing the paperwork to send an appointment letter or consent letter. The sending of an email, printing and posting of the relevant letters is undertaken by TaxAid administration.

Induction is provided. This includes training in each relevant tax area as often the tax issues arising on the helpline are not typical of those that are seen in general practice. Training is also given to manage the technology and provide guidance on the telephone skills needed to manage the calls.
Initial training is arranged in London, across several half day sessions. The initial helpline sessions are undertaken at the TaxAid offices. However once an Adviser is approved the Helpline Adviser can undertake the helpline session from their own home and write up call notes and arrange the paperwork through remote desktop from their own PC/Laptop.

Ongoing support and training will be provided to the Helpline Volunteers.

Required Knowledge and Skills:

• CTA qualification or ATT or currently undertaking training towards tax qualification, or tax advisers without formal qualification but possessing many years of general tax practice experience.

• Knowledge of HMRC practice and procedures – especially personal tax/ self employment and tax debt, some knowledge of corporation tax, VAT and CGT would be helpful but are not required.

• Excellent telephone manner and customer service skills.

• Excellent oral and written communication skills and the ability to explain complex issues in simple language.

• Ability to display empathy with people from a wide range of backgrounds;

• Understanding and application of confidentiality.

• Knowledge of data protection.

• Computer literate.

Time Commitment

The Helpline is open daily and is managed by a rota system. In order to ensure that the rota provides sufficient cover at all times, it is requested that volunteers commit to a two hour helpline session on an agreed regular basis. In order to manage the rota, it is expected that a volunteer would commit to at least one, two hour session per month on a predetermined regular time slot, allowing for holidays and unavoidable absences.

Rewards

Callers to the TaxAid helpline are frequently in debt in amounts disproportionate to the level of their income. It is not uncommon for the debt to amount to £5,000 on an annual income of £10,000- £20,000, ie the debt can be 50% of annual income. At £5,000 HMRC can start bankruptcy proceedings. The reward is therefore the satisfaction of resolving the tax and tax debt issue from your skills and knowledge.