Volunteer fined for not declaring income

A disabled ex-serviceman who volunteers full-time as a charity director has been fined for not declaring his income to HM Revenue & Customs, even though he is not paid.

Former sailor Chris Palmer, director of the County Durham Furniture Help Scheme, has received annual demands to fill out tax returns since his charity became a limited company in 2005, even though directors of not-for-profit companies should be exempt from making tax returns.

Palmer, who has lived on a war pension since 1970 and earns nothing from his charity work, has now been fined £100.

"The tax man kept insisting that I must have a salary," he said. "He didn't seem to understand the meaning of the word 'volunteer'."

A spokesman for HMRC said the organisation did not comment on individual cases but it aimed to avoid unnecessary administration for voluntary workers.

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