Becoming a volunteer
There are three primary charities in the UK where tax advisers can give a little back to the community by using their tax knowledge to help people on low incomes.
Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG)
LITRG is a committee of the Chartered Institute of Taxation, and the CIOT is an educational charity. As can be seen from a review of this website, LITRG’s work is varied, but we must stress that LITRG is not an advice agency and does not offer telephone or face-to-face help to members of the public. If you wish to volunteer to help individuals, TaxAid or Tax Help for Older People (details below) are the organisations to contact.
Nonetheless, LITRG’s activities do rely heavily on volunteers. Our primary purpose is to educate the world at large about the impact of tax law in the UK on the lives of the low income population. We collect evidence of that impact and recommend changes in the law and administration of taxes to improve the lives of those on low incomes.
To achieve these aims, some of our main activities are:
- writing articles and assisting the press and media in getting tax information out to the general public
- providing information and educational materials on this main website and various linked project websites
- researching and producing reports on tax and related issues affecting low-income, unrepresented taxpayers, then using them to influence change
- responding to a wide range of consultations on tax and related matters affecting those on low incomes
- providing briefings to Members of Parliament
- working closely with numerous other organisations, mostly within the voluntary and charitable sector
- running training workshops for other voluntary organisations who want to know more about tax so they can support their clients.
The majority of people associated with LITRG are volunteers. They provide support on consultation groups, in research, in contributing to our writing and just generally helping out the small core team which runs LITRG. Volunteers operate from their homes or from the premises of sympathetic employers. You can volunteer from anywhere in the world.
Our volunteers have a range of experience, from the tax profession (both practice and former HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) staff) to those without a tax background but a keen interest in helping low-income people to understand their financial situation – for example, those working in the general voluntary sector advice field who have come across the complexities of tax and benefits interactions.
Most volunteers stay with LITRG for the longer term, but a commitment of three to four years from new volunteers is helpful in terms of experience and continuity. We may also have shorter term opportunities for volunteers keen on contributing to report research or project work which is self-contained.
In return for volunteering for LITRG, we hope you will achieve personal satisfaction and interesting experience for career development, or perhaps the chance to make a difference in retirement using the valuable knowledge you have gained during your paid working life.
If you are interested in volunteering, please send details of your experience and what interests you in helping out via our Contact page.
Being committed to equality of opportunity, we welcome any expressions of interest although we regret that we may not be able to offer all potential volunteers a place with us if we do not have suitable work with which to involve you.
TaxAid runs a national telephone helpline service, an email help facility and some face-to-face advice sessions for people on low incomes.
TaxHelp for Older People
TaxHelp for Older People is a free confidential service providing tax advice for people over 60 on low incomes (less than £20,000 p.a.) who cannot afford to employ a professional tax adviser.
They provide advice over the telephone but they also provide face-to-face help at local offices of bodies such as Age UK or Citizens Advice Bureau. Home visits are made if need be.
Tax lawyers can look for specific opportunities to volunteer in the pro bono legal community. More information can be found on the website of LawWorks.