A decade ago, the UK government came up with the phrase, “Tax doesn’t have to be taxing”. It was used in a television advert about the simplification of Self Assessment tax returns. However, despite simplifying the tax declaration process for the self-employed, taxes are still a confusing topic that many people still struggle to get their heads around.

From Income Tax and National Insurance to VAT and Road Tax, it’s estimated that there are more than a hundred different types of taxes in the UK. So understanding the ins and outs of them all is no easy task.

If you have a question about a particular type of tax, chances are you won’t be the first person to have asked it. But you may be wondering where you can go to get the answers you need.

If this is the case, you might find this article helpful. In it, we’ll suggest some of the best places to go for help with your taxes, whether you’re looking for free tax help or paid tax advice from a professional.

There are many people you can go to for help with your taxes, such as an accountant or tax adviser, a tax charity volunteer, a representative from His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) or even a friend or family member, however, it’s important to ensure that the advice you’re getting comes from a trustworthy source before you act on it.

As well as asking for help from people, you can also try resources such as the internet or an app that can be downloaded to your mobile device — but again, make sure that they are trusted sources, as there can be severe repercussions for tax evasion, whether intentional or not.

Read on to find out more about where to get help if you’re struggling to get your head around your taxes.

A tax professional

If your issue is particularly complex or you want to be sure that the advice you’re being given is accurate, it’s best to seek help from a tax adviser or accountant. You will usually have to pay for their services, but you might be able to get an affordable quote by shopping around.

A friend or family member may be able to recommend someone they’ve used before, or you could visit one of the tax and accountancy firms in your local town. Otherwise, a quick internet search will generate plenty of results. Before you make contact with anyone, though, check on their website that they are a member of a professional body, such as the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).

When you do make contact, ask whether you will be charged for an initial chat and what their hourly or daily rate is from there. You can save them time — and therefore save yourself money — by ensuring you have all your tax information to hand. It’s also a good idea to find out what the tax adviser or accountant specialises in. You’ll benefit from more comprehensive advice if you choose someone who’s a top-level expert in the area you need help with.

Tax charities

For many people who need help with their taxes, their first port of call is the Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB). But while Citizen’s Advice is a registered charity that was set up to advise members of the public on things like debt, law and immigration, they don’t provide tax advice, only general information about taxes. They do, however, recommend specialist charities such as TaxAid and Tax Help for Older People, both of which may be able to help those on a low income get free advice from a tax adviser.

Here’s some more information about these two charities, as well as two others that may be able to help you with your issue:


If you are at work, the tax charity TaxAid can give you advice on a range of tax issues, such as:

  • Income Tax rates
  • National Insurance
  • Pay As You Earn (PAYE)
  • Tax debt (which they specialise in)
  • Tax on pensions
  • Tax refunds
  • Tax returns

Note that they don’t provide advice on the following tax issues:

  • Corporation Tax
  • Council Tax
  • DWP benefits
  • Limited companies
  • Non-UK tax issues
  • Tax Credits
  • Tax planning
  • VAT

You can either call them on 0345 120 3779 or speak to someone face to face in London, Manchester, Birmingham or Newcastle upon Tyne. They can also provide advice via email if you prefer.

Tax Help for Older People

If you’re around 60 or older, Tax Help for Older people may be able to help you with your issue. They will be able to advise on the following:

  • Income Tax rates
  • National Insurance
  • PAYE
  • Tax on pensions
  • Tax refunds

Note that they are unable to help with:

  • DWP benefits
  • Council Tax
  • Limited companies
  • Self-employment
  • Tax Credits

You can make initial contact by calling 01308 488 066 to be put through to an adviser, who will try to resolve your issue there and then. If your problem is complicated or you would benefit from more direct support, you can visit one of their local offices or arrange for a home visit.

Most Tax Help for Older People volunteers are practising or retired tax professionals, with some, even having worked for HMRC.

Advice NI

If you live in Northern Ireland, Advice NI can help you with a range of tax issues, including:

  • Benefits
  • Debt
  • Tax Credits


Advicelocal provides local support for those needing help with their tax affairs. Some of the issues they can help with are:

  • Benefits
  • Employment
  • Housing problems
  • Personal Finance

The government

The best place to go with any tax issues is the government’s tax department, HMRC. Some of the charities above will even expect you to have approached HMRC first to try to resolve your issue before going to them for help.

From tax relief to tax debt, HMRC can help you with anything tax-related, but if it’s a Council Tax issue, it recommends that you get in touch with your local council. Each one has its own process for collecting Council Tax, but they will be able to help you if you’re having trouble paying your bill, you think you may be entitled to extra support, relief, or reductions, you want to change the way you pay, or you just need some advice.

HMRC recognises that taxes can be complicated, so you’re allowed to appoint a tax charity volunteer or tax professional to deal with everything on your behalf. However, if you do this, you should know that you are still legally responsible for your own taxes, and you should authorise every decision your representative makes. It’s also important to understand that HMRC may send correspondence to your agent without sending a copy to you (and vice versa).

You can also appoint an intermediary to help you deal with your taxes rather than do everything for you, however, you should note that they won’t get access to your tax online. To appoint an intermediary, you need to send a letter containing your name and address, tax reference number, the name and address of the person or organisation you want to authorise, and your signature to:

National Insurance contributions and Employers Office, 

HM Revenue and Customs,

BX9 1AN 

Friends and family

If a friend or family member is particularly savvy when it comes to taxes — or they’ve had experience dealing with the same issue as you — they may be able to advise. HMRC will even communicate with them on your behalf, provided you confirm that you are happy for them to do this. You may be able to do this informally over the phone, but unless it’s a general enquiry or you just need a form to be sent to you, this will usually only be permitted once, and your representative will have to go down the normal route of registering online as a ‘trusted helper’. Once approved, your friend or family member can do things like claim a tax refund, check you’re paying the right amount of Income Tax, and update your tax account.


There’s a wealth of tax information on the internet, so whatever your question, chances are you’ll be able to find the answer online. Our online calculator, for example, can help you work out how much Income Tax you owe.

However, it’s important to stress again that any information or advice that you act on should be from a trusted source. Tax is an extremely complicated subject, which means that incorrect information from unregulated sources like social media or the internet is inevitable. This is especially true in chat rooms, where regular people can come across falsely as experts. Some will even convince readers that they are tax professionals when in fact, this is an outright lie.

It’s also important to understand that everyone’s circumstances are different when it comes to taxes, so you shouldn’t take general information as gospel.

If you are in any doubt as to whether something you’ve read online is true, it’s best to contact HMRC to verify that the information you’ve been given is correct.

Tax apps

The great thing about technology is that there’s now an app for everything — including taxes. Some are free, while others require you to pay a subscription fee, however, some of the features you get with most of them include:

  • Automated tax returns (though you may need to check and adjust the figures before submitting your tax return)
  • Cashflow checks
  • Photographing and storing receipts
  • Potential tax liability
  • Potential tax savings
  • Sending invoices
  • Tracking income and expenses and categorising transactions for tax purposes

Often, these types of apps are made by accountants and tax professionals — or they offer advice from real-life advisers — but, as with the internet, anyone can develop an app and sell it on the Google Play or Apple App store, whether they are a tax expert or not. So you can’t always be sure that the information you’re getting can be trusted. It’s also worth being aware of the fact that tax apps that have been developed in other countries will not have the same rules as the UK. This means that even though the information given may be accurate, it won’t apply here.


If you need help with your taxes, you can go to a tax professional, a tax charity volunteer, HMRC or a friend or family member. You can also try resources such as the internet or a tax app that you download to your mobile device. Wherever you get your information, though, it’s vital that it comes from a trustworthy source, as there can be severe repercussions for tax evasion — whether intentional or not.

As a final word, we recommend seeking the help of a certified tax professional or HMRC and that you double-check any tax advice you’re given before you act on it.