University of Nottingham Commercial Law Centre

Tax problems experienced by older people

Professor Frecknall-Hughes was awarded two grants by the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) in 2014–15 (pilot study) and 2015–17 respectively, to examine the types of tax problems older people face.

Access was granted to the case files of the tax charity, Tax Volunteers, which runs a specific service: Tax Help for Older People. The charity helps individuals who are over 55 and have income of £20,000 or less per annum. The final project report to the CIOT can be found at:

Frecknall-Hughes, J. (2017). The Tax Problems Experienced by Older People, London: Chartered Institute of Taxation

older people with the shadows of young dancers


The work has also informed the wider, national debate about the tax problems faced by people at various stages of their lives, and is cited in the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) report, published in October 2019, entitled Taxation and Life Events. Professor Frecknall-Hughes's work is mentioned specifically on pages 51, 56 and 58, and her contribution acknowledged on page 81.

In addition, in 2017–19, Tax Volunteers was awarded funding by the Money Advice Service ‘What Works Funding Programme’ for a project entitled 'Digital Tax Financial Capability', with a report produced in 2019 (Tax Volunteers, Graham, K., Frecknall-Hughes, J. and Summers, B. (2019). Digital Tax for Older People). The project looked specifically at the difficulties that older people have with the digitalisation of the taxation system. Professor Frecknall-Hughes was a project evaluator and co-author of the report.

The work on tax and older people remains ongoing with co-researchers, with the following book chapter due to be published in 2020:

Frecknall-Hughes, J., Monir, N., Summers, B. and James, S. (2020, forthcoming). Tax Justice and Older People: An Examination Through the Lens of Critical Tax Theory. In ed. de Cogan, D., Tax Justice and Tax Law: Understanding Unfairness in Tax Systems. Oxford and Portland, Oregon: Hart Publishing.

University of Nottingham Commercial Law Centre

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