The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has been working closely with HMRC to provide the best support for people with sight loss who need extra help understanding their tax and claiming their entitlements.
Following calls to RNIB’s Tax Advice team from customers asking for help with claiming and transferring the Blind Person's Allowance to their spouse, the team looked into the issue.
In two cases, HMRC had refused to transfer the allowance because one person in each couple was living in a care home and HMRC said their guidance only allows Blind Person's Allowance to be transferred where a couple is ‘living together’.
RNIB successfully challenged this decision on the grounds that ‘living together’ for income tax purposes includes couples where one of them is living in a care home.
A form called a 575 form had to be completed to transfer the Blind Person’s Tax Allowance between spouses and civil partners. RNIB explained the difficulties this caused and HMRC eventually agreed that these forms were no longer necessary.
Michael Farragher, HMRC Project Manager at RNIB, said: “Thanks to the in-depth tax knowledge of the RNIB team, and with the help of Tax Help for Older People, HMRC has now agreed to transfer Blind Person’s Allowance for both couples.
“HMRC are now updating its internal guidance for staff and on GOV.uk on this issue. This is a great outcome which we know will help other couples in the same situation in the future.”
RNIB is also raising an issue with HMRC about its correspondence in braille using the old Standard English Braille. From 2016, all braille produced by organisations should be written in the current, internationally-approved code, Unified English Braille (UEB).
We are the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).
Every six minutes, someone in the UK begins to lose their sight. RNIB is taking a stand against exclusion, inequality and isolation to create a world without barriers where people with sight loss can lead full lives. A different world where society values blind and partially sighted people not for the disabilities they’ve overcome, but for the people they are.
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Call the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999 or visit www.rnib.org.uk