If you’re over 55, on low income and looking for expert advice to understand and manage your tax situation, Tax Help for Older People is here to help.
Tax Help is a charity supporting people across the UK, free of charge, whether it’s a simple matter which can be dealt with over the phone, or a more complex one that needs support from one of our local volunteers.
Looking for help to work out if you’re paying the right tax? Tax Help for Older People offers a free phone service, bookable surgeries and home visits when appropriate. It’s a national charity but you can talk to someone local. Alan Jones is a Tax Help volunteer in Lambeth:
Every case is different
“The joy of meeting people to help them deal with their tax affairs and with HMRC, is that every case is different. For example, completing a tax return can be difficult for someone who doesn’t understand tax jargon. I can think of at least one case where the colours HMRC forms are printed in meant the client literally couldn’t see the boxes.
Negotiation for sensible outcomes
“A lot of cases I help involve non-UK state pensions (where there can be special rules and foreign exchange). Some involve back tax, often when someone has retired, got a small pension and a state pension and gone back to work e.g. as a professional carer for a few years to help make ends meet. The system is sometimes slow and, having retired from their second job they suddenly have a large tax liability and very small income /no savings. My role is to establish exactly what’s gone wrong and negotiate with HMRC a sensible outcome (sometimes they waive all the liability when it’s not our client’s fault.)
Tax health checks
Recently at one home visit I was able in an hour to help an elderly couple claim married couple’s allowance (yes, different from marriage allowance, jargon is important!). It came to around £800 less tax that year, plus a little less for each of the previous four years. Because such opportunities can arise, we sometimes do ‘tax health checks’ just to put someone’s mind at ease.”
For more information
- Contact Tax Help for Older People Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm on 0845 601 3321 or 01308 488066 or see their information pages
- If you’re not yet 55, or are self-employed, you can contact TaxAid with your questions about tax 0345 120 3779 Monday to Friday, 10am to 12 midday.
- You can pick up our leaflet (shown) in AgeUK or from a Citizens Advice Bureau.