The understanding of tax credit responsibilities amongst migrant workers

Funded by: HM Revenue & Customs

Duration:

February 2008 to June 2008

PSI researchers:


Background, summary and aims

Background, Scope and Aims

Since the late 1990s the Government has reformed Britain’s tax and benefit system, and tax credits are central to this programme in contributing to these over-arching objectives:
  • Ensuring adequate financial incentives to work;
  • Reduce child poverty; and
  • Increased financial support for all families.
Within HMRC an initial investigation of tax credit claims by migrants revealed that circumstances of migrant workers may mean that they are facing particular problems that are distinct from those faced by tax credit claimants in general. The HMRC has commissioned PSI to explore migrant workers’ interactions with and understanding of the HMRC tax credit system and the support they get with tax credit claims. The aim of this research is to investigate migrant workers’ understanding of the tax credits system and further address their ability to successfully fulfil their responsibilities.

Project Design

The research involves a qualitative approach comprising in-depth interviews with a purposive sample of migrant workers from four countries of origin: Poland, Lithuania, Slovakia and Portugal.

60 interviews will be conducted with migrant workers who recently entered the Tax Credit system (40 of them in the last 5 years, 20 in last 12 months). The interviews will be distributed across four locations: London, Leicester, Norwich, and Great Yarmouth. The fieldwork will take place in the period mid March – mid April 2009.

Migrant workers’ interactions with and understanding of the HMRC tax credit system and the support they get with tax credit claims is being explored in the context of migration, their working patterns and personal networks. The conduct of the fieldwork has been planned so that no-one is excluded from the research because of language barriers.

Importance of Research

The findings from this research will help HMRC to tailor its communications strategy and improve its services for customers who are migrant workers.