LITRG is an initiative of the Chartered Institute of Taxation, which is an educational charity – we are not part of HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), the government department which deals with tax and tax credits. Although we do engage closely with HMRC and other government departments on our work, we are unable to access tax or tax credit records, make changes to information or pass on reported changes to HMRC.
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 people on low incomes. Everything we do is aimed at improving the tax and benefits experience of workers (employed, self-employed and agency workers, etc), pensioners, migrants, students, disabled people and carers.
LITRG works extensively with HMRC, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), HM Treasury, Revenue Scotland, Scotland Office, the Welsh Government, and the Welsh Revenue Authority as well as other government departments, local authorities and devolved administrations. We comment on proposals and put forward our own ideas for improving the system. Too often, tax and related welfare laws and administrative systems are not designed with the low-income user in mind and this often makes life difficult for those we try to help.
LITRG also works with other charitable organisations.
Target for help and information those least able in the community to afford to pay for advice and make a real difference to their understanding of the systems of taxation and related benefits whilst working to make them more equitable and accessible for their needs.
We do this by:
- Providing comprehensive information, guidance and support to taxpayers and tax credit claimants and their advisers
- Providing the most comprehensive, up-to-date primary source of information and guidance for low-income taxpayers, tax credit claimants and their advisers on tax, National Insurance contributions and tax credits via this website.
- Publishing regular news updates on areas of interest to our website readers.
- Providing support for advisers, including detailed guidance, legislation, resources and policy documents relating to tax credits, child benefit, national minimum wage and the transition to universal credit via our award-winning revenuebenefits website. This website is supported by funding from HMRC.
- Supporting other charities and organisations, for example by running tax and tax credit workshops.
- Encouraging government agencies, primarily HMRC, to produce the very best information for all taxpayers, especially people on low incomes.
- Analysing the interaction between the tax, tax credits and benefit systems to understand potential interactions and how changes in one system may have an effect elsewhere.
- Researching particular tax areas that may be giving cause for concern and writing reports recommending change.
- Examining Finance Bills and other tax legislation for provisions which may adversely affect the low-income population, providing briefings on the legislation’s effect on this group and proposing alternatives.
- Monitoring operational developments within HMRC, DWP and other related government departments which may affect those on low incomes.
- Encouraging people to feed to us their day-to-day experiences of the tax and related benefit systems.
- Sitting on numerous tax and benefit consultative groups and putting forward the perspective of those who cannot afford to pay for advice.
- Promoting the work of the separate tax charities via the Bridge the Gap campaign and encouraging professional tax advisers to give their time pro bono to such charities; we have supported TaxAid, the first of the specialist charities; and we set up Tax Help for Older People which provides specialist help to low-income pensioners.
Whom we try to help
We have no strict definition of ‘low income’. Instead, we tend to consider issues more in relation to people’s means and the extent to which they might not be able to afford professional advice, for example:
- Low-income workers:
- Those taking on an employee
- Agency Workers
- Disabled people (and their carers)
We also provide information tailored to groups who may not fall within the definition of low income but whose tax and tax credit affairs follow a particular pattern. These groups include parents and others using childcare support or claiming child benefit.
We do not generally provide help directly to individuals but we try and point people to where they can best help themselves. For information on where to go for official tax guidance, or individual advice or assistance please see our Getting help page. You can however get in touch to tell us about your experiences of the tax system through our Contact page.
What help can you expect to find on our main LITRG website?
We do not try to provide complete help for every visitor on our website. Bearing in mind that we believe it is a government’s responsibility to provide the citizen with an adequate explanation of its laws and processes, much of our information is provided to supplement the government information. We will also point you to their material where it might be of interest or help to you.
Additionally, it should be noted that this website is aimed at people on low incomes and mainly covers areas of the system that we consider may be most relevant to them. If we cover an area, then we will try our utmost to ensure our material is as accurate and thorough as possible. However, users of our guidance should be aware that not all areas of the system are covered and this website should therefore not be taken to reflect the entirety of tax law.