Campaign launched to expand tax safety net charities

A campaign is being launched to raise an extra £250,000 a year for the charities which provide tax advice for those in need who cannot afford to pay for it.

The ‘Bridge the Gap’ campaign will be formally launched this evening by the new President of the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT), Chris Jones, ahead of the Institute’s annual CTA Address.

Chris Jones will say:

“TaxAid and Tax Help for Older People were both founded by members of the tax profession. For many years they have provided tax advice to vulnerable people who desperately need it – but can’t afford to pay for it.

“I’ve seen the work they do. It is remarkable. They really do change peoples’ lives. In effect, they provide the profession’s safety net.

“The demand for their services has never been higher. It is greater than they can meet. And it is increasing, significantly, month by month.

“So they have come together to launch an urgent joint campaign to enable them to help more vulnerable people. The Campaign is called Bridge the Gap.

“We are appealing to increase their annual income by £250,000 a year – to help them support another 6000 people; this is the number of people who we know – as a minimum – needed help last year but the charities weren’t able to help.

“I am personally supporting it – so is my employer LexisNexis – and so too are the CIOT, the ATT, the ICAEW Tax Faculty and the ACCA.

“This evening, I am launching the appeal to members of the profession – and I would encourage you to support this vital campaign.”

CIOT, ATT, ACCA and ICAEW Tax Faculty will all be issuing appeals to their members over the coming months encouraging them to support the two charities.

To support the Bridge the Gap campaign go to http://www.bridge-the-gap.org


Notes for editors

1.       Tax Aid

TaxAid resolves tax problems that people on low incomes cannot solve alone. Problems arise for three principal reasons: the tax system is complex, especially for those on low incomes; taxpayers who are caught up in the degree of complexity are ill-equipped to deal with them and require a tax-qualified expert to represent them; HMRC is not equipped to meet the extent of vulnerable taxpayers’ needs in terms of calculations, independent advice or where there is a dispute.

TaxAid’s tax advice and educational services are available to all those on low incomes (recognised in government as that below 60% of median income or approximately £20,000 per annum), irrespective of their background and circumstances. Advice is free, independent and confidential.

2.       Tax Help for Older People

Tax Help for Older People provides free, independent and expert advice and help for older people on lower incomes (£20,000 gross per annum or less). Originally set up by the CIOT’s Low Incomes Tax Reform Group, Tax Help now operates independently under the registered charity Tax Volunteers.
Tax Help is based in Dorset but has volunteer advisers spread across the United Kingdom. Most of them currently practising or retired tax professionals, including retired HM Revenue and Customs staff. These volunteers give their time and expertise free of charge because they recognise how difficult the tax system can be for older people who can’t afford professional advice and they want to use their skills to benefit the community.
Tax Help help some 12,000 new clients each year with their tax problems, delivering about 22,000 individual tax advice sessions.

3.       The Chartered Institute of Taxation

The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) is the leading professional body in the United Kingdom concerned solely with taxation. The CIOT is an educational charity, promoting education and study of the administration and practice of taxation. One of our key aims is to work for a better, more efficient, tax system for all affected by it – taxpayers, their advisers and the authorities. The CIOT’s work covers all aspects of taxation, including direct and indirect taxes and duties. Through our Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG), the CIOT has a particular focus on improving the tax system, including tax credits and benefits, for the unrepresented taxpayer.

The CIOT draws on our members’ experience in private practice, commerce and industry, government and academia to improve tax administration and propose and explain how tax policy objectives can most effectively be achieved. We also link to, and draw on, similar leading professional tax bodies in other countries.  The CIOT’s comments and recommendations on tax issues are made in line with our charitable objectives: we are politically neutral in our work.

The CIOT’s 17,000 members have the practising title of ‘Chartered Tax Adviser’ and the designatory letters ‘CTA’, to represent the leading tax qualification.