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About In House Tax

About In House Tax

This weblog is a news and views site for tax professionals within the UK and international in-house tax community.  You will find information about appointments and people moves in and around the in-house tax market, issues affecting the in-house tax professional, opinions on the state of the tax job market, updates on tax technology, and other general thoughts of the day.

Hope you find it useful.

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Location: St Albans, United Kingdom

This site has been developed by Simon Godley, who also runs the niche tax recruitment company Talentpool Selection . Simon spends a lot of his time placing tax specialists into FTSE companies, large in-bound groups and some professional services organisations. He also recruits and is well networked around the UK tax technology and VAT markets.

Tax News

Back into tax after a career break

Monday, 29 October 2007

By Simon Godley 29 October 2007

I have recently worked with two tax candidates, both looking to get back into the tax market following rather lengthy career breaks. One had decided to move on from a Tax Manager role with a major London bank, and take a cultural sabbatical to Latin America, lasting 3 years. The other person had been offered an attractive pay-off from a professional firm in late 2001, and decided to pursue various academic interests, amounting to a 5 year career break.
Both candidates found good quality tax positions within a matter of months. Both had to take a step back in level, but my feeling is that within a one to two year time frame, they will both be back up to a level where they left off before their career breaks.

Time Out of Tax
The longer you take out of the tax market, the higher the risk of not being able to get back in. Tax is an area which is constantly changing, and so the landscape can look very different if you haven’t been around for, say, 3 years. If however you decide to go off travelling for 6-12 months, and cannot arrange unpaid leave with your employer, then getting back into a new job on your return shouldn’t take too long, depending on the underlying demand in the market on your return. This latter point is key - if you had decided to go trekking in the Himalayas for 12 months at the point when Enron collapsed, you may have found a few more ‘closed doors’ on your return. In fact given the current nervousness in the financial markets, now may not be the ideal time to take a (short) career break.

Practice vs Industry
Depending on your role and tax experience before the career break, you may be looking at a route back into a tax team within the professional firms, or into an in-house tax role. If your previous experience has been largely corporate tax within industry, then you will undoubtedly find least resistance to finding a role back in industry. If however you have grown up within a Big Four corporate tax team, for example, then you could look at roles within both practice and industry. If you have taken a long career break (18 months or more) then instantly stepping back into a professional firm could be more difficult, as there is more of an emphasis on being technically up to date and conversing fluently with clients on complex tax matters. Industry can be less concerned about technical know-how, with the emphasis being on practical tax accounting skills, and to be able to communicate and connect well with senior finance and business heads in the group. Things like interpersonal skills and commercial maturity will hopefully not wear off, and indeed may improve, through taking a career break.

Getting back in – some tips
• Closely review new roles appearing on tax job sites and the tax press, for example, and and respond to those that closely match your prior technical experience
• Apply for interim roles e.g. 3-6 months tax contracts in industry, requiring your prior technical experience. This will get you back up to speed with some of the tax rules, and could possibly lead into a permanent role
• Use your network – contact ex-bosses and colleagues to see if they can point you to a route back in. They may have heard of roles in the market, and your ex-boss my offer you a job again, should you be happy going back to the same employer
• Keep in close contact with recruiters – if there is now a gap on the CV because of a career break, then making it onto a shortlist for a role will be more difficult. You need to be regularly picking up the phone to them, keeping on their radar for when new roles/contracts come up
• Do some technical reading to find out which areas of tax have mostly changed in the time you have been away. This will not help to get you interviews, but ultimately will show in the interview that you are making efforts to get back to speed

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posted by Simon Godley

'No job cuts' from BDO/Chiltern deal

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Source: Kevin Reed, Accountancy Age

BDO's acquisition of Chiltern will see no job cuts, and will push on both firms' ambitous targets in the tax market.

'No job cuts' will follow Chiltern's acquisition by BDO Stoy Hayward, BDO's head of national tax, Paul Eagland, told Accountancy Age.

As BDO presented its deal of its latest acquisition Chiltern, which houses 75 partners plus support staff, Eagland said the combination was made to accelerate BDO's ambitious growth plans and enhance market position.

'Wider knowledge gives us a better platform to grow,' said Eagland.

Both firms had expected double-digit growth over the next financial year, which Eagland siad will be enhanced through the acquisition rather than just maintained.

'The impact on the market will be significant,' said Eagland.

He said partners of both firms had agreed to the deal 'unanimously'.

SG comment: It is quite surprising that BDO have made this sort of public announcement so soon into this deal. It is very good news for the new firm if this is maintained, and clearly shows the synergy involved with the deal. I think it also reflects how difficult it is for firms like BDO to recruit in the current tax market, and clearly they have now satisfied their need to hire new tax people through acquiring Chiltern, which had become a pure tax consultancy.

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posted by Simon Godley

In-House Tax Movers - October 2007

Monday, 15 October 2007

Peugeot Citroen UK has recently hired Phil Ward as their UK Tax Manager, being the No.1 tax role with the UK group. Phil joins from InBev, the beverage group that owns Stella Artois, where he was Head of UK Tax. Phil originally trained in tax with PwC in the mid-late 90s before moving into industry in 1999.

Laing O’Rourke, the UK’s largest privately owned construction company has recently appointed Bernard Tucker to bring tax in house for the first time. Bernard joins with a wealth of commercial tax experience, having led the tax function for Inmarsat Plc for the last 6 years.

Global engineering and construction group Black & Veatch has recently hired Frederich During as their new European Tax Manager, based in the UK. Frederich has joined from NSK Europe, the bearings manufacturing group, where he was European Tax & VAT Manager. Frederich originally trained with Deloitte & Touche.

If you have recently made a move within the in-house tax market, or know someone who has, feel free to pass through the details to for announcement on this blog.

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posted by Simon Godley

Pre-Budget Report - Business / Corporation Taxes - Impact on Big Business

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Putting my very rusty tax technical hat back on, I thought I would quickly review the main changes from Alistair Darling's pre-budget report that will affect businesses:

Capital Allowances - fire safety expenditure / biofuel plants / Plant & Machinery disposal to a non resident

Corporate Tax: disguised interest

Corporate Tax: foreign exchange matching rules

Holiday pay - NIC exemption to be withdrawn

Exemptions for Investment Managers

Landfill Tax

Leasing of Plant & Machinery

Life tax measures

Measuring Tax Losses

Tax simplification for UK/EU VAT rules, anti-avoidance legislation and corporate tax rules for related companies

Spreading of tax relief for pension contributions

Tax treatment of financial derivatives

Whilst I can try to get a grasp of what each of the above measures are trying to do, it is rather beyond me to be able to say whether businesses are better or worse off as a result of the proposed changes. Taking off my tax technical hat and putting on my slightly cynical political hat, I would imagine that the net result is that more business / corporate tax will be paid. Pensioners and second home-owners will benefit as a result of individuals tax changes, which could be nice for votes, but complex corporate tax rules may help to balance the books, whilst at the same time snatching a quite a lot more tax from private equity owners.

For more detailed analysis of the above proposals, you may want to look at: produced by Deloitte

Views from industry tax professionals on this most welcome

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posted by Simon Godley

What's on a Head of Tax's mind currently?

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Source: Bob Reynolds, editor of International Tax Review (8 October 2007)

I asked a group of eminent tax professionals recently what were the most pressing tax issues on their desks at present. As you might expect, transfer pricing emerged as the consistent number one. The sheer complexity of transfer pricing issues and the unpredictability of outcomes was a familiar theme.

The second topic was tax audits. One global tax director said: 'What gets me is the fact that often revenue authorities do not understand our business. They do not appreciate how we arrive at our assumptions for tax due and therefore they decide to impose a stringent tax audit.'
He says that these audits rarely reveal anything. So the authority in question is no better off at the end of the process. An illusion of activity has been created and nothing else.

'They still have no greater appreciation of where we are and so they sit and gestate for six months. Then they put in another audit. This can go on two or three times.'
He points to the absolute frustration of being involved in an exercise which is time-consuming and expensive but which is generally fruitless. I have found echoes of this theme throughout the world.

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posted by Simon Godley

OECD Addresses UK Tax Competitiveness

Friday, 5 October 2007

Source:, London

A recently published report from the Organisation for Economic, Co-operation and Development (OECD) has put forward the argument that globalisation increases the importance of raising tax revenues in the most efficient way so as to maintain competitiveness.

In a bid to raise awareness of the intensity of competition between global markets, the report argued that: "Globalisation creates a tension between the need to spend on social safety nets and the need to maintain tax competitiveness, which may reduce revenues."

The OECD report went on to argue that this pressure has encouraged governments to make the corporate income tax system more efficient by cutting statutory corporate tax rates and broadening the base. As the two have offset each other, corporate tax revenue as a share of GDP has been maintained.

The Organisation went on to observe that: "The United Kingdom was ahead in the game of cutting rates, but has lost ground more recently. It will thus be important to continue with the strategy of broadening the tax base, while cutting the rate."

However, it suggested that there are likely to be limits as to how far this can go, because tax competition also plays out on the base.

Pointing to the UK as an example, the OECD observed that the United Kingdom’s system of worldwide taxation creates incentives for headquarters to relocate offshore.

It observed that: "Thus the government should consider the case for moving to a dividend exemption system of corporate income taxation, which exempts foreign source dividend income from domestic tax."

SG comment: This article reminds me that often in the past senior executives of leading FTSE companies have threatened to relocate the parent to another non-UK jurisdiction, but then have not gone through with it. I would imagine the ultimate scale of disruption to staff, and potential loss of talent, would outweigh saving on some corporate tax.

Comments on this welcome

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posted by Simon Godley

Tax Victory for Morrisons

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Source: Accountancy Age 27 Sept 2007

A big tax win has seen Morrisons slash its effective tax rate to 15%, the company has said

Morrisons declined to say what its successful tax wrangle was about, indicating only that HM Revenue & Customs had closed some enquiries going back several years, and that a ‘significant amount of corporation tax’ was recoverable.

Normally, the company would record a six-month finance charge of around £30m, but this half-year claimed a credit of £2.4m as a result of the tax boost and other changes.

The reduced corporate tax burden gifted to large UK corporates by the government in the last budget also contributed to Morrisons good fortunes, leading to a large release of deferred tax following the change in rate of UK corporation tax from 30% to 28%.

Overall, the net finance credit of £2.4m reflected the impact of a reducing pensions deficit, the one-off interest benefit on repaid corporation tax and low levels of net debt ahead of the full roll out of the group’s investment programme.

Morrisons added that the victory was a one-off and expected to see the net finance cost returning to normal levels in the second half of the financial year.

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posted by Simon Godley

Google does software deal with the Revenue (taxcareers magazine September 2007)

Google - in partnership with Capgemini - has signed a major new deal with the Revenue & Customs to supply tax software.

The IT services group will add Google's wordprocessing, spreadsheet and e-mail tools to the portfolio of software applications it offers to its clients. This is the latest expression of Google's ongoing rivalry with Microsoft, which has long dominated the desktop market with its Office portfolio of products, including Word and Excel.

Google unveiled a paid-for collection of rivals tools in February, offering businesses a bundle of web-based services, accessible over the internet, for $50 (£25) a year per user. Since then it has said that the product has been signing up more than 1,000 small businesses a day and has been adopted by more than 100,000 firms. Microsoft Office, however, has around 240 million users. The partnership with Capgemini is designed to broaden Google's exposure to large corporate customers as it pushes its software as a service (SaaS) model - under which clients pay subscription fees for tools hosted on Google hardware and supplied through a web browser.

Capgemini manages 290,000 desktops in the UK, across private and public-sector organisations. It deals with the personal computers of 110,000 staff of Revenue & Customs and of 60,000 workers at the Metropolitan Police.

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posted by Simon Godley

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