NIHR update volunteer guidance

13 April 2023      Julia Ascott, Employment Taxes Specialist

National Institute of Health and Care Research, Health and Care Research Wales and the Health Research Authority (collectively referred to as NIHR within this article) published guidance last year on the potential tax difficulties taking on research participants or volunteers. The guidance was initially billed as a ‘work in progress’ whilst they tested how users were able to apply the guidance in practice. Following the feedback gained from the initial publication, the new and improved guidance on payments has been published.

NIHR states, “Based on the feedback we have made a few important changes. We have:

  • changed the title to make it explicit it is about employment status and tax
  • improved structure of the guidance to make key messages stand out better
  • clearer explanation of scenarios in which guidance is relevant and most useful
  • clearer messaging on determination of employment status
  • added information on tax-free allowance”

No guidance is completely fool proof and example scenarios are never ‘one size fits all’. However, this guidance helps to promote employment status issues amongst researchers and research staff who are responsible for organising public involvement in research. More awareness can only help improve compliance.

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