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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/hmrc-grant-funding-application-guidance/hmrc-grant-funding-2016-to-2019-application-guidance
1. HMRC funding
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will allocate a guaranteed £1.66 million over the next year (April 2020 to 2021) to the voluntary and community sector (VCS) to support customers who need extra help understanding and complying with their tax obligations and claiming their entitlements, including those who are currently digitally excluded.
We are looking for VCS organisations to help customers to form or rebuild a relationship with HMRC that enables them to engage directly with us in the future.
We invite bids for funding of between £10,000 and £450,000, with a maximum threshold set at 50% of your organisation’s turnover (last audited accounts).
We will only accept one bid per organisation.
Bids should include one or more of the following activities:
1.1 Advice and support
Providing direct advice and support for HMRC’s customers who need extra help and cannot afford to pay for it.
1.2 Digital inclusion
Assisting customers who are digitally excluded, to build their confidence and capability to use HMRC’s online services for themselves.
1.3 Specialist support and referrals
Providing specialist advice and taking referrals by phone or email from HMRC’s Extra Support team, and assisting customers who need independent advice and support with more complex tax issues, for example complicated PAYE issues, or claims for Special Relief and appeals.
To apply under ‘Specialist support and referrals’, your organisation would require the infrastructure and capability to handle about 700 referrals per year, and would be responsible for concluding individual cases.
The timeline for the funding round is:
- 11 December 2019 – deadline for receipt of completed applications
- we will acknowledge receipt of your application within 3 working days
- 24 December 2019 – notification sent to successful applicants
- 1 April 2020 – grant agreements in place and new funding begins
3. HMRC’s strategic funding aims
If your organisation applies for funding, you will need to demonstrate how your proposals align to support HMRC’s key strategic funding aims:
3.1 Digital services
HMRC’s aim is to continue to provide more of our services digitally. We are looking for organisations to support that aim and help our customers with new ways of working.
3.2 Customers who need extra help
We are looking for organisations that directly provide advice and support to those customers who, for various reasons, need extra help when interacting with HMRC.
3.3 Designing services to meet customer needs
To help HMRC identify and reduce barriers for our hard-to-reach customers and those who may need extra support to improve their experience.
Making it easier for intermediaries, including those in the VCS, to engage with us on a customer’s behalf.
3.4 Efficiency and productivity
The government is seeking sustainable cost savings across all departments and we need to ensure that we allocate our funding efficiently to achieve the best outcomes for our customers.
4. Eligibility criteria
You will need to confirm that you satisfy all of the following criteria to be eligible to apply for grant funding from HMRC.
Your organisation must be one of these:
- a registered charity
- a voluntary and community sector organisation
- a social enterprise
- a mutual
- a co-operative
Your organisation must have 3 years of financial history in place.
Your organisation must have a turnover of no less than £40,000 per year.
No directors in your organisation to have been disqualified in the last 5 years.
No director, trustee, treasurer or anyone in a position of financial responsibility to have had a relevant conviction, such as for fraud, within the last 3 years.
You must have sound and comprehensive financial systems and processes that enable you to track the amount of funding spent throughout the year, and demonstrate that you have allocated the funding to the specific activity detailed in your bid.
You are able to identify customers who have HMRC-related issues and be competent to help them with one or more HMRC services, for example:
- tax (PAYE and Self Assessment, VAT, National Insurance)
- tax credits
- Child Benefit
- debt management support
You must have in place an infrastructure for monitoring and evaluating that is capable of reporting agreed outcomes; ie the impact on your clients and that your outcomes represent value for money.
No aspect of the activity funded by this grant may be party political in intention, use or presentation.
The grant cannot be used to support or promote religious activity.
Any bids that progress through the evaluation process will be subject to verification of the eligibility criteria along with additional financial/operating information as part of our due diligence process.
5. Who we want you to help
We want the VCS to continue to support HMRC in helping those customers we currently find hardest to reach, who cannot or will not interact directly with us, or need extra support in doing so.
Some customer groups may find it difficult to interact with HMRC because of geography, culture, language, trust and other reasons.
Your organisation must be able to demonstrate that it can provide tax and benefit-related support services to HMRC customers who have difficulty accessing HMRC services due to at least one of these factors:
- issues such as illness, disability or digital exclusion
- they lack confidence and are overly worried about making mistakes, or are new to HMRC services
- they lack the ability to deal with tasks, for example, due to learning difficulties, memory problems, lack of language skills that would help them understand the tax system, complex working situations, or several income strands
- they have mental health issues or are suffering extreme distress through life events such as bereavement or the breakdown of a relationship
Your proposal will need to show how you can support customers in one or more of these groups. These include a wide range of customers, such as people with mental health or learning difficulties, people on low incomes or in debt and facing financial hardship, older people, migrants, carers, and people who are digitally excluded.
6. Demonstrating success
HMRC understands that a ‘one size fits all’ approach is not necessarily appropriate. We also recognise a need for proportionality.
However, it is important you are able to demonstrate how you are achieving successful outcomes for your clients – our customers. You should be able to provide clear information and data about the impact of your activities, outline your outcomes and deliverables and detail how you intend to monitor and evaluate them.
We are looking for a good return on our investment, so you will need to demonstrate that your services are good value for money.
7. Your costs
In your application you must provide a breakdown of the costs of your proposal.
You must show the full costs including overheads. You should only include costs directly incurred by the bid activity.
8. Assessing the bids
In the event of a large number of bids, we will carry out an initial sift based on the statement in section 2.1 of the application.
9. Terms/funding awards
The terms for funding awards are set out in a grant agreement.
If your application is successful we will send you a signed hard copy of the agreement at the end of the selection process. You will need to read, check, sign and return this agreement to secure the funding.
The grant agreement will set out an agreed schedule for invoicing and payment.
10. How we will support you
If your bid is successful we will:
- allocate you an account manager from HMRC’s Customer Engagement Team who will be your first point of contact to discuss the progress of your funded activities
- discuss and agree your proposed outcomes and measurement methodology
- review the data you collect by commissioning from you quarterly statistics as well as mid and end of year reports to evidence your outputs and expected outcomes
- monitor invoices to agreed timescales and engage with you to ensure delivery is within the agreed budget
We may also arrange for HMRC auditors to visit organisations towards the end of the project to analyse the grant spend, and establish that you have spent the funds in accordance with the original bid.
If you are confident your organisation can provide the service we seek and you satisfy the eligibility criteria as set out at section 4 above, please email HMRC’s Customer Engagement Team for an application form.
If you have any questions about this guidance, please email us.