Unrepresented taxpayers have a new champion

Unrepresented taxpayers have a new champion. After 14 years as Chairman of the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG), John Andrews has stepped down from the leadership of the Group and been succeeded by Anthony Thomas.

Both men were honoured in last night’s Taxation Awards. Anthony Thomas, who was President of the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) until earlier this month, won the Tax Personality of the Year (TPOTY) award. John Andrews was given the Lifetime Achievement award. LITRG also picked up awards for technological innovation (for the Revenue Benefits1 website) and rising star (for Technical Officer Kelly Sizer).

Speaking after his first LITRG meeting as Chairman today, Anthony Thomas said:

“The achievements of the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group under John Andrews are testimony to how one man’s vision and drive can make a real difference for huge numbers of ordinary taxpayers.

“LITRG was set up by John back in 1998 when he was President of the CIOT. Since then, under his leadership, it has grown into an ever-more influential advocate for pensioners, low income workers and those others least able to afford tax advice. In 2001 it developed TaxHelp for Older People which now helps tens of thousands people every year. More recently it won HMRC funding to provide tax advice to migrants and carers for those with disabilities. Authoritative reports on areas such as bereavement and pensioner tax issues, accompanied by tireless campaigning, have led to changes in HMRC practice and in legislation. The Group’s guides, especially those on under and overpayments of tax, are ever-more eagerly awaited by the media, the unrepresented and those who advise them.

“John will be a very tough act to follow. But he has promised to stay involved in a number of the Group’s projects, and has assembled an outstanding technical team, as last night’s awards illustrate.”

John Andrews commented:

“There comes a time for every Chairman to pass on the baton, which I think is an appropriate analogy for an Olympic year. I have been lucky enough to do the passing at a time of my own choosing and over a dozen years is a fair go at the job. I like to think that LITRG has never been in better shape and it has the respect of politicians, government departments and the membership of the Institute.

“Being a full-time volunteer has not been easy at times, but it has been a totally rewarding experience and I will take away the certainty that hundreds of thousands of unrepresented people are now better off financially and better served by HMRC than they would otherwise have been.

“Knowing Anthony as I do I am entirely comfortable that LITRG is in safe hands. May LITRG go on from strength to strength.”

Notes to editors
1. Revenuebenefits.org.uk is a relatively new (it was launched in July 2011) website, put together by the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group and rightsnet, and is designed to provide advisers with access to the latest information on the range of HMRC 'products', including tax credits, child benefit and guardian’s allowance and the national minimum wage.

2. The Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG) is an initiative of the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) to give a voice to the unrepresented. Since 1998 LITRG has been working to improve the policy and processes of the tax, tax credits and associated welfare systems for the benefit of those on low incomes.

3. The CIOT is a charity and the leading professional body in the United Kingdom concerned solely with taxation. The CIOT’s primary purpose is to promote education and study of the administration and practice of taxation. One of the key aims is to achieve a better, more efficient, tax system for all affected by it – taxpayers, advisers and the authorities. The CIOT’s 16,000 members have the practising title of ‘Chartered Tax Adviser’ and the designatory letters ‘CTA’.

George Crozier
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