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 (CIOT), 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, volunteers do play a part in LITRG’s work.
⚠️ Please note: Being committed to equality of opportunity, we welcome any expressions of interest. However, we may not be able to offer all potential volunteers a place with us if we do not have suitable work for you. Due to changes in our work as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, we have limited time to enrol new volunteers at present. If you are a CIOT member, you might therefore wish to instead offer to volunteer for a Technical Committee, or for the branch network.
LITRG’s primary purpose is to educate people about the impact of tax law in the UK on those least able to afford professional representation. We collect evidence of that impact and recommend improvements in the law and administration of taxes.
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 our websites
researching and producing reports
responding to a wide range of consultations
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. For a current list, see LITRG volunteers.
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.
Ordinarily, if you were interested in volunteering, we would ask you to send details of your experience and what interests you via our Contact page. As noted above, we are at present unable to enrol new volunteers, but please check back towards the end of the year.
TaxAid runs a national telephone helpline service, an email help facility and some face-to-face advice sessions for people on low incomes (around £20,000 a year or below).
TaxHelp for Older People
TaxHelp for Older People is a free confidential service providing tax advice for people over 60 on low incomes (around £20,000 a year or below) 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. 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.
Although Citizens Advice do not provide a specialist tax advisory service, sometimes there are opportunities to help in your local office.