Posted: 06 May. 2020 10 min. read

Tax matters in times of crisis

Deloitte UK Tax practice teams up to help charities

In the past several weeks, COVID-19 has impacted our society in ways we did not anticipate. We have been forced to adapt in order to sustain ourselves, our economy, and our businesses.

Part of Deloitte’s global WorldClass initiative to empower 50 million people by 2030, One Million Futures works with over 70 charities, social enterprises and schools in the UK to address inequalities and help one million people get to where they want to be. The UK Tax and legal practice works with TaxAid and Tax Help for Older People, and right now their need has never been greater.

Through the Because Tax Matters initiative started in 2017 by Tax and Legal Managing Partner, Matt Ellis, Because Tax Matters harnesses the skills and experience of UK tax professionals to help low-income people and charities with their tax problems and improve tax and financial awareness.

Helping TaxAid and Tax Help to serve their clients in a time of crisis

With a mandated quarantine, Tax Help for Older People’s employees were not equipped to work remotely, and their helpline was in danger of closing during a time when people need support. To keep the helpline open, the UK Tax and Legal team provided eight refurbished laptops to the charity to enable employees without computers to work from home and keep the helpline open. This initiative was part of a greater project with the Deloitte IT Services team, who have contributed 280 laptops to the NHS and charities.

Last year, Because Tax Matters and Deloitte Digital implemented a cloud-based Salesforce case management system  for TaxAid, empowering their  staff and volunteers to work more effectively and securely from home. This programme is now proving even more beneficial in times where remote working is essential,  allowing the charity to scale up the volunteering programme to meet the expected increase in demand, which will come as incomes fall and businesses struggle due to the COVID-19 crisis.

In addition, Deloitte volunteers from our private client tax practice will help support TaxAid and Tax Help for Older People in response to a special UK government programme recently announced for those whose businesses have suffered due to the COVID-19 crisis. The government requires that these businesses have their tax affairs in order to be considered for the programme.

Colleagues from Stitch, a Deloitte business, are also helping the charities create a campaign to inform these small businesses that the charities are available to help them qualify for this special programme.

“Because Tax Matters has allowed our professionals to engage in a meaningful way within their communities,” said Rachel Austin, UK Tax director and the initiative’s lead. “This crisis has also allowed us to work with other areas in our UK practice to help the tax charities respond quickly and creatively to the situation.”

Adapting to current times…

The Deloitte UK Tax and Legal team is now also looking at how the current environment might impact some of their other regular activities. For example, through the annual Fantasy Budget competition, Because Tax Matters offers high school students an opportunity to role play as UK government officials creating their own imaginary budget for the country, culminating in a presentation to a panel of Deloitte judges.

“The competition will become even more relevant this year as the world’s governments come under scrutiny as they respond to the financial crisis caused by COVID-19. Our team is working on plans to make the competition virtual if travel is still restricted later in the year,” said Austin.

In addition, volunteers run tax and financial awareness sessions to help graduating students prepare for the work world. These sessions were supposed to launch in March but were postponed.

“We will need to rethink how we can deliver our support if schools remain closed for the rest of the school year,” said Austin.

The UK Tax practice also provides pro bono support to charities. Following a successful Global Mobility Lab, where several international development charities participated in interactive exercises designed to address their specific challenges, plans were made to expand the lab concept to support more charities. They are now working to create a virtual lab.

“The commitment and enthusiasm of our volunteers is inspiring, and we’re seeing more interest from people who want to get involved during this crisis. Our current plans to expand the programmes and increase the number of volunteers will need to change and adapt to the circumstances, but we’re committed to continuing to make an impact,” said Austin.

The Self-Employed Calculator

Last but not least, the tax team launched the COVID-19 Self-employment Income Support Scheme Calculator to help the self-employed remove the uncertainty about the size of the expected HMRC grant. The calculator provides specific action to guide eligibility, and holds the information required to receive the support, which can be completed in three easy steps.

For more information, contact Rachel Austin.

Key contact

Kate Condon

Kate Condon

Manager

Kate is a Manager in the Responsible Business team working with our charities, schools and social enterprises as part of One Million Futures. Kate drives communications and marketing initiatives to build the profile of One Million Futures both internally and externally.