By Max Clarke

17 grants, totalling some £2m a year, are being awarded to voluntary and community sector organisations across the UK by HM Revenue & Customs.

The move comes as part of the Coalition’s pledge to boost the ‘third sector’ of charities and voluntary organisations as part of David Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ scheme.

“The money goes to provide independent, trustworthy support for vulnerable people and those on low incomes, to help sort out their entitlements and tax problems,” said HMRC personal tax director, Stephen Banyard.

“The organisations we are funding provide support to people who may not normally come to HMRC for help and advice but who may need a helping hand understanding what benefits and credits they are entitled to claim and how the tax system affects them. For example, some of the funding will go to organisations such as Citizens Advice and Tax Help for Older People, who can help those who have worries about their finances and taxes.”

Other boosts to the sector include; the removal of paperwork for charities claiming tax-free gift aid donations of up to £5,000; a 45p increase per mile for voluntary drivers allowance; and a 10% inheritance tax relief for those bequeathing their estates to charity, all of which were announced by Chancellor Osborne in the March 2011 Budget.

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