Out & About: North West Tax Clinic and pro bono tax advice

Lawton, Amy and Massey, David Ian alexander orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-6853-3845 (2020) Out & About: North West Tax Clinic and pro bono tax advice. Taxation, 186 (4765). ISSN 0040-0149

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Official URL: https://www.taxation.co.uk/articles/north-west-tax...


Undergraduate students are very capable of providing effective tax advice. This is something that we discovered during the operation of the North West Tax Clinic (NWTC), the UK’s first student-led tax clinic. The clinic provided free and confidential tax advice to low-income individuals. Indeed, the students managed to save £15,000 of client money in the process. The NWTC is a collaboration between Lancaster University, the University of Central Lancashire and TaxAid, the national tax charity. The clinic adopts the same ethos as the charity: to help those who cannot afford to pay for professional advice to sort out their tax affairs. During its ten-week pilot between January and March 2020, the clinic helped 25 clients who were on an average income of £11,000 a year. When we consider that average gross earnings in the UK are about £27,500, these individuals fall far below that level. Common issues included submitting tax returns, removing individuals from the self-assessment system and
appealing against HMRC late filing penalties.

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