There’s a huge range of opportunities in tax. Read actual stories of just a few professionals.
Commerce And Industry
Working for a high profile multinational, I have colleagues in 140 countries around the world. My role is to add value to the business through analysing tax opportunities and liabilities – actively making changes to the way we do business in particular countries and worldwide.
Recently, I’ve met with tax inspectors in Japan and Australia, and internal people in Houston and Singapore. And even when I’m working from my office in London, I have tele- and video-conferences all day – typically talking to the Far East in the morning, Europe in the middle of the day, and the Americas at the end of the day.
Some of the largest and most important business deals in the world pass through the City of London. That, alone, makes my day stimulating.
As a tax specialist in a large City financial institution, it’s my job to make sure the tax liability of the deals I’m involved with is as low as possible. A lot of this work revolves around the financing of the deals.
Whilst it’s detailed work, it does require an overall perspective, and often some innovative thinking. The main thing is to always keep one’s eye on the big picture of ensuring that agreements are properly structured to reduce the tax liability for my clients.
Within the law firm I work for, I’m always in demand as a tax professional, either to advise clients or my colleagues on the tax implications of legal decisions or contracts.
I work with companies based locally, throughout the UK, and abroad – only last week, I advised a US corporation about employee share options in its UK subsidiary.
My job is always intellectually challenging. Nothing stands still. Each year the Budget gives me a new set of information to digest and new implications to understand for my clients – often at short notice. I need to keep abreast of developments and help businesses make short-, medium- and long-term plans.
As a solicitor, I often work with other branches of the legal profession – the Bar! You’ll find many tax specialists there and all tax practices (including the Big 4 accounting based firms) will consult a barrister from time to time on complex areas. They will often have developed a deep specialism in a particular area and, of course, they will be gearing up to take a case for a client to the UK or European courts.
I’ve recently set up as a sole practitioner after a number of years experience as an Inheritance Tax specialist for a Big Four accountancy firm in London. I’m building my business in that niche, as there isn’t a specialist in the rural area I’ve moved to.
Striking out on my own has been a revelation. I’m enjoying being my own boss. I have no staff worries, my overheads are low, and I’m working with clients even more closely than before. But I’m not cut off from my old colleagues – they’re referring business my way.
Private Client Practice
In private client practice, I work with a variety of wealthy individuals – mainly entrepreneurs and ‘old money’, although some of my colleagues specialise in entertainers and sports stars.
Some of my clients will be familiar faces from the Sunday Times ‘Rich List’ published each year; others qualify from their level of wealth, but do not feature.
In this business, it’s quite usual for clients to stick with their tax adviser for 20 years or more, and in some cases become like a member of the family. It’s all based on relationships that take time to build. And with such an intimate knowledge of their financial affairs, I can even be asked to represent my clients in business meetings.
General Tax Practice
I’ve been working as a Senior Taxation Consultant for a major regional firm for some 14 months. I see my job as helping people and businesses avoid tax problems through research and planning – it takes real initiative to get it right.
My client base runs from Company Directors to retired people, from management teams planning Management Buy-outs to high-profile footballers. Most of my clients are based locally, but my firm’s close ties with established families have meant that we have continued to advise the current generation, even as they have moved away. And although I’m seen as a general taxation consultant, I have my own specialisations – in particular, I’ve built up expertise in trusts, and area that gives me great satisfaction.
International Tax Practice
My job in International Tax involves working with a client base of large multinational companies.
We take a global perspective on their tax liabilities - because of their trading presence in many countries, we need to take a far wider view than simply looking at UK tax. And to do that, I need to work closely with my colleagues in our offices abroad, experts in their authorities’ requirements.
There’s a constant stream of new challenges on legal, fiscal and practical issues. I’ve been co-ordinating work in some 16 countries, and recently have attended meetings in Chicago, Philadelphia, Paris and Frankfurt.
My job involves making sure businesses pay the right amount of tax at the right time – much the same as a tax adviser in practice in many ways! It’s clearly a key role in helping government function because without taxes flowing in, public services can’t be paid for.
It’s not just controlling and checking. There is a great deal of assistance to traders – VAT is a complex tax after all!! There is a vast range of work that you can get involved in – it depends what you want to do in many ways. I am hoping to move to a post within policy development soon – to look at how the tax system might change and how new ideas can be reflected in the tax laws.
And while I’m working, my employer, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), is giving me encouragement to get the Chartered Institute of Taxation's professional qualifications. They have sponsored me for the 'Chartered Tax Advisor' exams which should enable me to get faster promotion.