TaxAid and Tax Help for Older People – Projects 2023
An update from Julia Potts, Project Coordinator
Post-pandemic 2023 is the first “normal” year for both TaxAid and Tax Help for Older People since 2020. Looking forward we must focus on the importance of the services our beneficiaries really need from us and how to deliver them. To that end, it is very clear that 2023 will be no ordinary year for TaxAid and Tax Help for Older People.
Many will be acutely aware of the pressures facing people in the UK in 2023. Escalating costs of living, impacts of rising inflation, food, and energy costs affecting people’s daily lives. Many people will have to make tough decisions in terms of lifestyle choices – heat or eat – and for many of the most vulnerable, the impacts on their mental health and well-being will be quite serious.
A number of people are supplementing existing P.A.Y.E. employment, pensions and other benefits with casual self-employed jobs which again bring implications with tax and self-assessment, frequently an unintended consequence, and often an aspect that many have not thought about. They are likely to need our help and guidance more and more.
These challenges have become the core of our focus, as we at TaxAid and Tax Help for Older People have worked hard to address some of the newer identified ‘needs’ of our beneficiaries and make both the charities and the services offered by them sustainable for the future. Our projects are aimed at the heart of our ethos – working for the good of our beneficiaries.
In this first article, we look briefly at 3 of those projects, which really go to the heart of delivering newer improved services:
- New Services Lines
- Referral Routes
The Triage Project
The Triage Project focuses on ensuring staff are trained to follow the due diligence and structure required to ensure they can provide a triage call answering service and assist with managing the capacity of the charities.
This triage stage is crucial to ensuring the case issues are clearly identified and the best way to assist the caller is assessed i.e. do they need signposting, is it a complex issue that will require being assigned to a caseworker or more 1-1 interaction with a member of staff or a volunteer, does it require escalation to HMRC directly for help.
This process ensures we optimise the use of our valuable and specialist, yet limited, staff resources to deliver the right outcomes for beneficiaries.
New Service Lines Project
New Service Lines project uses the helpline data and referring partners’ feedback on tax issues to identify where support is needed, but not yet currently provided. The Project lead is working to design and deliver these new service lines, and to enhance the delivery of many of our current services to help small businesses and sole traders who often have issues and on a limited income have nowhere to get that help. We will be looking to recruit more volunteers who may have expertise in tax affairs of this nature.
Referral Routes Project
Referral Routes is a great initiative with a strategy to increase referrals through cultivating new relationships with other Voluntary Services Organisation (VSO) partners i.e. CAB, AGEUK, Pension services, faith groups, and working more closely with debt advice services. This will also help us grow our network and ensure that longer term we receive more referrals as awareness of the two charities is raised within the VSOs and other local and regional help groups and community hubs.
These are just three of our projects, in addition to the day-to-day running of the charity, that we are working on to ensure a broadening of our services. We are also working on projects around Making Tax Digital for income tax self assessment (MTD for ITSA) and how this will impact our most digitally illiterate beneficiaries, and we hope to update you on this project in due course.
Working on these projects allows us to look closely at what we are offering our beneficiaries and how we can better use our resources to help those who are most in need.