In June 2014 I had the privilege of being invited along with 90 other tax volunteers from around the UK to lunch at the House of Lords.
Tax Help for Older People
TOPs is a charity set up between the Chartered Institute of Tax and Age UK. As a volunteer I help older people on low incomes to sort out tax problems. Low incomes is defined by the charity as £20,000 per annum. All clients on this scheme are referred by our head office of which details are provided below.
The sorts of problems I have helped with are:
Mrs A who was being asked to pay a tax bill of over £900. She had phoned the collector of taxes who assured her that she owed the money and that she had to pay. She rang the TOPs helpline as she was a retired widow and couldn't understand how this could possibly have arisen. It transpired that the figures on her tax demand were relating to another taxpayer and the tax demand was ultimately cancelled. This was a very worrying time for her and she told me that without TOPs she would have taken the £900 on her credit card and would have struggled to pay it off.
Mrs W was being asked to pay PAYE which had arisen in the 4 years before she retired because HMRC had, wrongly, given her two lots of tax allowances. This was a frequent occurrence in 2008/9 and 2009/10 when the HMRC computer was being reprogrammed. She had called at the local tax office where it was explained to her that there was an Extra Statutory Concession A19 whereby tax arising from such mistakes should be written off in her circumstances. She was told to ignore the demands so did not pay them. Some 2 years later the collector of taxes was pursuing her for this money plus interest which had been added because she had failed to pay in the first place. Eventually HMRC cancelled the earliest year's tax as it was out of time, conceded the second year and passed the collection of the final 2 years back to PAYE so that interest did not continue to add on to the sum due. She is paying the rest off by instalments and is delighted with the outcome.
Mrs G had retired from running a small business some years ago and received a VAT demand for £1400. As the business had only a small turnover and no residual assets she could not understand why she owed any VAT. It transpired that the VAT demand was correct but that when she de-registered from VAT she had entered a wrong figure on the de-registration form. The demand was duly cancelled.
Chartered Institute of Taxation
The CIOT is the leading professional body in the UK for advisers dealing with all aspects of taxation. As a not-for-profit organisation our primary purpose is to promote education in taxation with a key aim of achieving a more efficient and less complex tax system for all. Our comments and recommendations on tax issues are made solely in order to achieve this aim; we are entirely apolitical.
The Institute itself does not provide tax advice, only our members. The only exception to this is our Low Incomes Tax Reform Group who publish a wealth of information for the unrepresented taxpayer. Membership of the CIOT is by examination nationally recognised as the gold standard of UK taxation education. Our 16,800 Chartered Tax Adviser members are subject to the Institute's professional standards and are supported by our London head office and worldwide network of 39 branches.
The CIOT is a registered charity, number 1037771.
Age UK Calderdale and Kirklees
Age UK Calderdale and Kirklees aims to help older people in our area to make the most of life!
We do this by providing a range of advice, care and practical services. Details are on the Age UK Calderdale and Kirklees page of this website.
How to contact TOPs