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The Tax Volunteers intranet is a place to find resources that help you in your daily work. It's also a place to keep in touch with what's going on across the organisation.

We welcome your input, if there is something you'd like to see featured here, please let us know.

Dorset OfficeNewsletters

Every quarter, we publish a newsletter with contributions from across the organisation. Download the current and previous editions from this page.

July 2018 Newsletter (2.2 MiB)

April 2018 Newsletter (2.0 MiB)


 

Technical Zone

We hope that the information given in this area will help you when you meet TaxHelp clients. We will try to keep you posted on current issues.

If you would like us to provide information on a particular subject please contact the Operations Centre on 01308 487001

Worldwide Disclosure Facility

Anyone who wants to disclose a UK tax liability that relates wholly or partly to an offshore issue can use the facility. At Tax Help we will only help people whose income including the undeclared income is below £20k for each year concerned. Using the facility may mean that further penalties are restricted.

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These notes are produced internally to the best of our knowledge at the time of writing.

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Tax Information

Tax Information

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Benefits This information is hosted on the LITRG website

 

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Client Advice Records

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Quality Management

Tax Tips

Projects

Supporting people to access their Personal Tax Account (PTA)

This project has been paid for by the Money Advice Service (MAS) from its What Works Programme. The MAS is the lead organisation in spearheading the UK’s financial capability strategy whose aim is to improve the financial capability of all UK citizens so that they have the right knowledge and skills to be able to make informed financial decisions or know where they can get advice.

Tax Help were able to bid for funding for this project on the basis that there are only two areas of financial management that affect everyone: Tax (whether you pay, or you don’t, you still should understand it) and Cash, although the second is reducing with the introduction of contactless payments. Our project looks at the link between financial capability through Tax and the ability and barriers in accessing, reviewing or transacting on line.

The idea is that we help 300 people to access their PTA (phase 1) and 150 people to complete a tax assessment return (phase 2).

The key to this project is about building older peoples’ confidence and skills in using online financial services and about them understanding their finances better; so we will be asking some simple questions on digital skills and confidence at the beginning (during recruitment), after the PTA has been accessed and after the tax assessment has been returned to see if the support we have provided has made a difference to them, and which type of support had the best outcomes.

Recruitment

The target group for this project is those older people with lower/basic digital skills. Ideally, we’ll also try and get an even balance with gender, ethnicity and urban/rural based; but getting enough participants through the whole process, including evaluation, is the priority. We have a flyer available to share with those interested in having help available here. Please feel free to share this with your clients and network.

A client recruitment form has been set up that is simple and relatively quick to complete whilst on the phone. We’ve kept the questions to a minimum, whilst covering the information needed for profiling the client and establishing their current skills and confidence with using online financial tools.

It is going to be as useful to record the reasons why some clients do not want to access their PTA and a question has been included for this. Also, if a client has already accessed their PTA, it might be that they’d be interested in the later phase 2 of the project: to help them complete a tax return online. This has also been included in the form.

During recruitment, we will be offering support to help people access their PTA in one of three ways:

  • Through written instructions which they will be emailed or posted, to try and get themselves online. If the client struggles on their own, they will be encouraged to phone in to go through the process with an advisor. As part of this, they will be asked how far they managed to get and what difficulties they ran into, which will need to be recorded.
  • Through a phone appointment where an advisor will call at an agreed time to go through the process with the client whilst on the phone. A list of items the client will need to have to hand is provided below.
  • Through a home visit with a volunteer who would help the client through the whole process, from switching on their computer to viewing their PTA. The actions should be undertaken by the client, with the volunteer advising when needed. A list of items the client will need to have to hand is provided below.

The first 60 clients for each can choose for themselves which option they would prefer and this is logged at the recruitment stage. After this it will be up to the adviser to recommend a method based on the client’s IT skills and confidence as well as convenience (guidance will be provided for advisers on this to ensure consistency). Overall we want to aim for around 120 clients for each group; this is 60 over the phase 1 target, but allows for some level of drop-out of participants (which will also be recorded).

Taking the client through the process to access their PTA through a home visit

Appointments will be booked at a mutually convenient time that suits both the volunteer and the client to run through the process. If it goes smoothly it should take about 30 minutes. Explain that they will be asked to complete a short survey later on, on how they found the process. It is important that it is the client that sets up the PTA access themselves, following the instructions either on screen and/or from the adviser as needed.

Click HERE for the most recent version of the step-by-step guide to accessing your PTA

Prior to an appointment, the client will need to make sure they have the following with them (the list will be sent to them by post or email in good time):

  • A computer, laptop or tablet which can access the internet
  • Mobile phone or landline
  • National Insurance number
  • Passport or driving licence if they have them or a P60 or payslip if not
  • Email address
  • Address, postcode, full name and date of birth

Clients may also be asked questions about other financial records related to them - HMRC is using this to make it easier to identify people with the records they already hold about them.

Adviser feedback

For those clients having support over the phone and having a home visit – the adviser will also be asked to complete a short questionnaire (a test version is available here), giving their perceptions of how they think the client found the process. The purpose of this is that if this project were to be offered by other agencies it would be useful for their advisers to know the issues faced from an adviser’s point of view. These questions will also be asked of the client in a later follow up call.

Client follow up

Clients will be sent a feedback/evaluation form to complete and return with few simple questions on their experiences and whether they were able to successfully access their PTA or not as well as their confidence in using other financial tools online. They will be offered the alternative of calling in with their responses for an advisor to record if preferred. If a client does not return their feedback forms, they will be contacted by phone between 1-3 months after setting up the PTA access.

If they have been able to access their PTA, they can be asked if they are interested in taking part in phase 2 (where applicable), which is to complete an online tax return, otherwise this is the end of their task.

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