A person who does voluntary unpaid work for a charity will not normally be engaged under a contract of employment. The reimbursement of any receipted expenses incurred by voluntary workers in doing the work of the organisation will not give rise to liability to tax. This includes the expenses of travel between home and the place where the work is done and meal costs that would not have been incurred had they not volunteered.

If expenses are paid that do more than reimburse the costs incurred or are at a scale rate that cannot reasonably be regarded as merely a reimbursement of what they spend, the voluntary workers may be receiving remuneration for their services. In that case the payments will be taxable as employment income. This can also cause issues relating to the National Minimum Wage.

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