“We are delighted to be part of this innovative pilot project which enables our men to address tax issues whilst in custody. This positively impacts upon residents when they return to society and we believe this also reduces their risk of re-offending”
“I wish that there had been someone like RIFT to support me with my tax affairs when I first came into prison”
“We recognised that there was a gap in provision for the men who had tax issues and we are delighted that RIFT have been able to plug that gap during a pilot period”
“Arriving at Prison is a stressful experience, and it is all too easy to lose sight of the important things that continue to need your attention on the outside. One such matter is that of your affairs with HMRC, especially if you are self-employed or a director of a limited company.
On my arrival at HMP (anonymised), information was collected from me by one of the charity workers and passed to HMRC so that they were aware I was in custody. This was purely so that they could continue to communicate with me effectively and not to elicit a ‘pause’ of my affairs; a common misconception among inmates it transpired.
It was important to me that I proactively settled my affairs, as it was clear that failing to do so would result in significant fines, as the HMRC process does not allow for or accommodate any kind of relief when in custody. I am lucky enough to have someone on the outside whom can get access to my records which enabled me to complete my return. It would have been almost impossible for me to comply with my obligations to HMRC were it not for their help, and I can understand why so many of the men I meet bury their heads in the sand.
The reality is that HMRC will not go away, and if matters are not dealt with now, then they will surely be waiting for release day! My main concern was that they would seek to instigate proceedings for non-compliance once I was released, and this could potentially result in my being subject to recall for a breach of licence. Whilst an extreme outcome, it is nonetheless possible and I would strongly advise everyone to think carefully about it.
I look back now and can see that having someone with whom I could speak to whilst in custody, in confidence and who would be in my corner so to speak, would have been an invaluable help.”
Q&A with Jan Post
RIFT Chairperson Jan Post on RIFT Social Enterprise