Interview with a volunteer: Steven Pinhey

Steven Pinhey has been a volunteer at TaxAid since February 2020. Earlier this year we asked Steven some questions about his experience volunteering with TaxAid.

What do you enjoy about working as a volunteer?
Many of the cases that I deal with have terrible backstories including addiction, problems with mental and physical well-being, and relationship matters. However, our clients are not looking for our pity or sympathy when they call us but rather for our help and assistance, and that is what I enjoy most about working as a volunteer.
I can use my tax skills and knowledge to aid and support clients in submitting their tax returns and making any appropriate appeals. The amounts involved often do not seem life-changing, but for most of our clients, reducing or eliminating their indebtedness is a huge weight off their shoulders, and in many cases gives them the courage to tackle other unresolved aspects of their lives.

Can you summarise what you do as a volunteer?
My work involves assessing client’s needs, which usually means meeting with them or agreeing on a pre-arranged time to give them a call to talk over their concerns and their tax issues. Clients’ needs range from help in getting their Self-Assessment tax returns up to date, to assisting them with appeals against penalties for late filing and late payment. Most of this work involves liaising with HM Revenue & Customs Voluntary Sector Tax Resolution Team based in Portsmouth.

What have you gained from your experience working with us?
Whilst working with TaxAid I have gained a greater appreciation and understanding of why it is so important for our society to support tax charities, such as TaxAid both morally and financially.
On a purely technical level, I have gained experience in areas of tax that (due to my historic client base) I would not have had exposure to, so I have enjoyed learning and applying new skills and knowledge.

Each case that I have had the privilege to work on has had its memorable aspects and rewards. There isn’t one particular case that particularly sticks out, but the genuine appreciation and thanks shown by clients is heart-warming and remind me why I get so much pleasure out of working with TaxAid.

Without the support of our volunteers and the tax community, we would be unable to provide our service. We extend our deepest gratitude to Steven and all of the volunteers at TaxAid and Tax Help for Older People.

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