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Tax charities mark anniversary with demand for help rising
Charities providing tax advice to vulnerable and low income taxpayers say demand for their help has risen to near record levels.
The statement from TaxAid and Tax Help for Older People comes as the former marks its 25th anniversary with an event in central London to thank supporters of the two charities.
Gary Millner, Joint Chief Executive of TaxAid UK and Tax Help for Older People, said:
“Over a quarter of a million people have been helped by the two charities since they were founded. We should celebrate this tremendous achievement and, in particular, recognise the huge amount of support and volunteer help from tax professionals that enables us to assist so many people.
“Twenty-five years ago TaxAid was founded by tax professionals who were concerned that people on low incomes were suffering significantly because they could not afford tax advice. In 2001, the Tax Help for Older People project followed, initially regionally, then nationwide. Both charities have grown steadily in the years since, and are now helping more than 21,000 people a year between them.
“Nevertheless, the fact is that demand for our services is continuing to outstrip our ability to deliver it.”
The charities attribute the increase in demand for their services to a range of factors including:
- Increased complexity of the tax system
- Higher numbers of self-employed and ‘gig economy’ workers, many of them on low incomes
- Higher numbers of people in multiple employments, much of it precarious
In 2015, the two charities, supported by the Chartered Institute of Taxation and other professional bodies and firms, launched a joint campaign, Bridge the Gap, to raise an additional £250,000 a year to enable them to meet the increased demand for their help.
Anthony Thomas, Chair of the Bridge the Gap Steering Group, said:
“TaxAid and Tax Help for Older People provide absolutely vital help to tens of thousands of people every year who cannot afford, but desperately need, help with their tax affairs. I urge anyone in a position to do so to support the Bridge the Gap campaign which aims to raise the additional resources the two charities need each year to meet demand for their help.”
TaxAid and Tax Volunteers (which provides the service Tax Help for Older People) are registered charities. They provide free tax advice to vulnerable people on low incomes who have serious tax problems – but who can’t afford essential tax advice. They aim to sort out the immediate tax problem and get their clients back on their feet again. Often the tax issue is not the root cause problem – which may be family loss, business failure, serious illness or abusive employers – but the tax problem has to be solved before they can get their lives back on a level footing.
TaxAid, formed on 7 December 1992, marks its 25th anniversary with its sister charity, Tax Help for Older People, in an event on 27 February at Gray’s Inn – to thank their supporters. The address will be given by Lord Hodge, TaxAid’s Patron.