Project information

Access to teleconference advice for vulnerable

The avoidance of enforced bankruptcy for people with mental illness who are at particular risk of inequitable outcomes. HMRC demands of outstanding tax are routinely found to be nil actually owed and legally enforceable through the Courts even where there had been no original liability.

April 2011 - April 2014

Charity information: TaxAid UK

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  • Need

    Need

    They are more than twice as likely as other low-income taxpayers to be in the process of being made bankrupt although the origin is often a tax "investigation" or an estimated debt that is in fact not really owed.

    Solution

    The project is to provide a dedicated tax professional to help those in tax debt who have mental health problems TaxAid’s support for clients includes preparing accounts and tax returns, assessing the actual tax owed, interceding with Debt Management to negotiate terms, negotiating with HMRC about the terms of an assessment or determination, or taking cases to the Commission to appeal.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To represent vulnerable people who lack capacity to communicate with HMRC

    Activities

    » Provide a website for those unable or unwilling to speak directly
    » Provide a dedicated adviser to help over the phone
    » Provide a dedicated tax adviser to respond to them via teleconferencing and scanned documents

    Success will be in achieving optimum outcomes for vulnerable people in the resolution of their dispute with HMRC


    Aim 2

    To resolve the outstanding tax issue in order to avoid enforced bankruptcy

    Activities

    » Work with the client to provide background information that enables the debt to be remitted

    Success will be 500 people with mental illness have their cases for enforcement dismissed.


    Aim 3

    To get a fairer set of guidelines implemented by HMRC in its dealing with people with mental illness

    Activities

    » Send tax professional representation to HMRC consultations

    Success will be in HMRC implementing guidelines that meet the Disability Discrimination Act - and encouraging their staff to adhere to them.


  • Impact

    Impact

    That people with mental illness no longer fear to come forward in the expectation that they will be dealt with fairly and, in having their problems resolved, are able to "get on with their lives". Former clients are invited to contact us to let us know how our help has made a difference (i.e. by comments on our website or via interview.

    Risk

    Helping people with severe mental illness to resolve tax problems can be stressful for both parties (e.g. with the risk - and occasional reality - of suicide attempts). TaxAid has developed a set of guidelines and undertakes training for support staff. A lesser risk is "dependency" - we work with health professionals to ensure best practice.

    Reporting

    Through data capture, clients' surveys and interviews we are able to report outputs, outcomes and impact.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £5,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £5,000 Telly Talk Teleconferencing ITC
  • Background

    Location

    Teleconferencing advice is provided by tax experts based in London: the client-end trial is requested for Cornwall

    Beneficiaries

    People on low income: employed (especially seasonal), self-employed (in trades, especially tourism and agriculture), agency workers, carers, pensioners, migrants.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    TaxAid is the only charity that carries out this work. It is free of charge, provided by professional tax advisers, confidential and independent. As the only provider, we are therefore concerned to be outstanding in terms of the quality of our advice.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.

    People

    Catriona McLellan

    Catriona is in charge of developing new projects - and particularly those at the leading edge of technology in the provision of tax advice.