Getting help to people who do not speak English

Getting help to people who do not speak English
21 March 2023

LITRG have developed a short video, translated into 12 different languages, to help migrant workers understand where to get tax help.

Most of us are approached at some point in our careers as tax practitioners to help out a vulnerable friend or acquaintance.

Knowing what to do in such circumstances can be hard, especially if the person who needs help is from overseas and does not speak good English, does not have funds to pay for professional advice and/or has other capability or confidence barriers. This, as you know from your experience of the system, means that the problem is likely to go unresolved and will fester.

Where can they get help? With the assistance of some volunteer translators (some of whom are busy ATT/CIOT members who have given up their spare time to help with this – thank you!), LITRG have posted a short set of videos setting out ‘Where to get help with tax if you do not speak English’ in 12 different languages. The videos cover:

  • that help with a tax problem is available and people should not suffer in silence;
  • some basic information about HMRC;
  • reassurance that HMRC have a Charter that should govern how they deal with taxpayers;
  • how to get through to HMRC by telephone, including navigating the voice recognition system;
  • how to find relevant information on GOV.UK about support available from HMRC:;
  • that HMRC can provide a translator service, something which is not well-known; and
  • that TaxAid is there if HMRC really cannot help and can be contacted – with the help of a translation tool – by an online form.

Please share our videos as much as possible! We are planning to add to this initial tranche of 12 videos with other languages including Mandarin, Japanese, Arabic and Farsi. We would love to hear from people who speak additional foreign languages – particularly any Indian subcontinent, Baltic or South East Asian languages – and who may be able to help us increase our reach.

Our news article explaining more about the background to the project and with links to the videos can be found on the LITRG website:

Meredith McCammond