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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
The 2021 to 2024 programme has closed for applications.
Our single departmental plan sets out HMRC’s objectives and how we will achieve them.
As the UK’s tax, payments and customs authority, HMRC has the vital purpose to collect the money that pays for the UK’s public services and help families and individuals with targeted financial support.
We do this by being impartial and effective and efficient in our administration. We help the honest majority to get their tax right and make it hard for the dishonest minority to cheat the system.
Our key objectives are:
- maximise revenues due and bear down on avoidance and evasion
- transform tax and payments for our customers
- design and deliver a professional, efficient and engaged workforce
HMRC has secured £4.98 million funding for 2021 to 2024, equating to £1.66 million per year, to allocate to voluntary and community sector organisations to help them provide advice and support to customers who need extra help understanding and complying with their tax obligations and claiming their entitlements, including those who are digitally excluded.
We are looking for voluntary and community sector (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 £20,000 and £750,000 per year, 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:
- advice and support
- digital inclusion
- specialist support and referrals
Advice and support
Providing direct advice and support for HMRC’s customers who need extra help and cannot afford to pay for it.
This covers the full spectrum of HMRC’s work from for example, notifying us of sources of income or changes of circumstance, supporting customers with tax liabilities, or assisting customers where we are seeking further information or evidence.
Assisting customers who are digitally excluded, to build their confidence and capability to use HMRC’s online services for themselves.
Specialist support and referrals
Providing specialist advice and taking referrals by phone or email from HMRC’s Extra Support teams 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.
Your organisation would require the infrastructure and capability to handle in the region of 700 referrals per year and would be responsible for bringing individual cases to conclusion.
The timeline for the funding round is:
- 27 November 2020 – deadline for receipt of completed applications
- we will acknowledge receipt of your application within 24 hours
- week commencing 14 December 2020 – notification sent to successful applicants
- 1 April 2021 – grant agreements in place and new funding begins
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:
- digital services
- customers who need extra help
- designing services to meet customer needs
HMRC aims 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.
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 at points in their lives when interacting with HMRC.
Designing services to meet customer needs
To help HMRC identify and reduce barriers for our hard to reach and vulnerable customers to improve their experience.
Making it easier for intermediaries, including those in the VCS, to engage with us on a customer’s behalf.
You will need to confirm that you satisfy all of these criteria to be eligible to apply for grant funding from HMRC.
Your organisation must be one of:
- a registered charity
- a voluntary and community sector organisation
- a social enterprise
- a mutual
- a co-operative
Your organisation must have 3 years’ 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 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.
Who we want you to help
We want the VCS to support HMRC to help customers we currently find hardest to reach, who cannot or will not interact directly with us, or need extra support in doing so.
Some vulnerable/marginalised customer groups may find it difficult to interact with HMRC for reasons that include geography, culture, language and trust.
Your organisation must be able to demonstrate they can provide tax and benefit-related support services to a range of HMRC customers, including:
- those with disabilities, mental health or learning difficulties;
- those on low income or in debt and facing financial hardship;
- older people;
those who are digitally excluded who are displaying one or more of the following characteristics:
- experiencing difficulties accessing HMRC services due to illness, disability or digital exclusion
- lacking confidence and overly worried about making mistakes, or are new to HMRC services
- lacking the ability to deal with tasks, for example, due to learning difficulties, memory problems, lack of language skills to be able to understand the tax system, complex working situations, or several income strands
- in debt and experiencing financial hardship, have mental health issues, or 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.
Impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19)
We recognise that one of the impacts of coronavirus is that organisations have had to make changes to how they operate and that these changes may require further adjustment before reaching a more stable position. We also understand that impacts may vary on a regional basis.
HMRC’s approach to grant funding is built on the premise of regular reporting and close working between the organisation(s) and the department.
We will therefore expect that the bids submitted to reflect any current limitations in reporting or close working. If there are any limitations we would also welcome a reference to future enhancements to manage those limitations, with an expectation that the detail will be developed at the appropriate stage.
This approach aims to support effective delivery and minimise administrative burden on successful organisations.
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.
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.
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.
The terms for funding awards will be set out in a grant agreement.
If your application is successful, we will send you a 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.
How we will support you
If your bid is successful, we will:
- allocate you an account manager from HMRC’s Customer Stakeholder 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.
How to apply
If you are confident your organisation can provide the service we seek and you satisfy the eligibility criteria as set out above, you can email us for an application pack.
If you have any questions about this guidance, please contact us.