The National Care Line
0800 0699 784

Tax Help for Older People

If your household income is less that £20,000 per year and you are a pensioner you will qualify for free tax advice from T.O.P

Do you worry about your tax affairs?

Do you know if you are paying the right amount of tax?

Do you know the rules surrounding the deferral of the State Pension?

Should you be completing a self assessment form?

T.O.P may be able to help you, call them on 0845 601 3321 or 01308 488066

Background

TOP was launched as a pilot scheme by the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG) of the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) in April 2001 to provide free professional help on personal tax to older people on low incomes who could not otherwise afford to pay for independent advice. The launch was funded by the CIOT and the Nuffield Foundation. The increasing complexity and opacity of the tax system coupled with a fear, however misplaced, of the Inland Revenue made it difficult, sometimes impossible, for older people to understand their rights and obligations or challenge the Revenue.

The service is provided by volunteers from the tax profession running surgeries at appropriate venues such as Age Concerns. Eligible clients can book an appointment via our national operations centre. (By eligible, we mean broadly over sixty and with a household income of up to £20,000 a year.) As well as addressing the tax worries and problems of our clients, the advisers are also charged with referring and signposting clients to statutory and voluntary agencies when they perceive a non-tax issue.

Since April 2004, TOP has been run by Tax Volunteers (TV), a registered charity, as an independent company limited by guarantee, but retains close links with LITRG who acts as the campaigning arm to achieve systemic improvement and change within both Revenue and Government, armed with the evidence which TOP acquires from its client interviews. TV is funded by the CIOT through LITRG, the Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT) various trust and foundations and Central Government. It remains, however, completely independent of its supporters and funders in order to provide impartial advice and advocacy for the unrepresented older person.

Clients may make contact themselves directly or be referred by other agencies e.g. CABx, MPs constituency offices, Age Concerns, the Pension Service. All initial contact throughout the UK is to the national operations centre in Dorset on a lo-call helpline, 0845 601 3321 or 01308 488066 or website www.taxvol.org.uk . From there, clients are directed to the most appropriate and convenient form of help. Problems range from incomprehension of their tax affairs causing deep anxiety and self assessment complications to cases where thousands of pounds of under- or overpaid tax are at stake. Whatever it is, TOP undertakes to see it through to a fair and just solution.

Public service and voluntary advice sector support

As people get older their tax affairs become more complicated and confusing, and getting trusted help and information can be difficult to find.

For those working with older people there is no simple and accessible resource about tax that can help them to guide older people.

We have developed and produced four tax videos which we believe provide a simple and clear source of information about the major areas of tax, and give an insight into how to deal with them.

We can also help front-line advisers with individual queries on behalf of their clients, or when they get stuck. Just telephone our advice line on 0845 6013321 or 01308 488066.

Tax Help is keen to ensure that the most vulnerable and isolated within the elderly in our communities are aware of the service it can offer. If you work with this client group and think you can help us to spread the message, please do make contact.

You can email us at  taxvol@taxvol.org.uk or make direct contact with our Development Director at jasper.dorgan@taxvol.org.uk. We are keen to collaborate whether on a national, regional or local level.