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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

Tax Jobs - Weekly Highlights

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

This week is about in-house transfer pricing roles. It is becoming common place now for a company, whether it be a large or very large international group, to have in place an in-house transfer pricing (TP) specialist or in some cases a whole TP team. I commented on this blog back in October 2007 and in January 2008 on the growing importance and complexity of transfer pricing for a commercial Head of Tax. Like with VAT/indirect taxes or possibly an Employment Tax specialist, if a large international group does not have someone in-house dedicated to managing the group's TP issues, then the group could quickly find itself under investigation.

Tansfer Pricing Manager - Banking Group
London £50,000 - £80,000 + Bens
See More Details

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posted by Simon Godley

Tax Jobs - How recession proof?

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

I subscribe to a few e-mail newsletters from various sources, one of which is The Motley Fool. They send through loads of information, opinions and recommendations about financial services products, and it's all quite good, honest, independent stuff.

Recently they sent through a brief article on which job sectors tend to be most recession proof. According to them, retail, consumer product manufacture, travel and hospitality businesses are usually hardest hit in a recession as people spend less on luxuries and leisure. Meanwhile vital industries such as health care and energy tend to weather the storm far better.

They also reveal that the Top 10 recession proof jobs in the UK are:

IT security professional
Project manager
Software tester
Computer programmer/developer
Network engineer
Business analyst
Pharmaceutical/medical sales
Child care worker
Web designer
Viral marketing professional

So it got me thinking how recession proof are tax jobs? Obviously, tax didn't make it into the top 10 of the above survey.

One argument is that surely we always need tax people, irrespective of how well the economy is doing? How does that saying go - there's nothing more certain in life than death and taxes? Having worked in tax recruitment during the last slump (2001 - 2003), I can safely say that this is not the case during a recession. The tax departments of the Big Four were heavily cut down, through 2 or 3 rounds of redundancies. Redundancies started off as voluntary in 2001, where people could opt to have their roles redundant, then in 2002 it got worse and sizeable numbers (into the 100s) of Big Four tax people were simply had to leave. I seem to remember that the most vulnerable seemed to be Tax Partners that were not big billers, and Senior Managers who were not going to achieve promotion to Partner. People in ACA / CTA training contracts were safe.

In-house tax teams of corporates and banks were not as badly affected, and in comparison, were relatively safe. With the exception of tax specialists working for companies in the high-tech sector or anything remotely like a dot com business. They were not safe, as it was those companies (and speculative high risk companies like Enron) which led us to the disaster in the first place.

So why the safety difference between Big Four/practice, and industry? This is because Big Four firms always (without exception) over-recruit during the good times - there is a 'war for talent' in the market and they look to seize all good tax candidates that are made available to them. If it is a bull market, herd like behaviour follows across the Big Four.

Commerce/Industry can't do this - a company can only recruit tax professionals for very specific roles, and has to go through a number of layers of approval before a recruitment process starts, so the hiring is much more controlled. Then when the downturn comes, if that company is particularly exposed in that downturn, then tax jobs may be at risk, otherwise they will be fairly safe.

I'm not going to make any predictions, but if I still worked in tax today, and given the looming financial problems, I would possibly prefer to be a Head of Tax for an energy or pharma company rather than a Senior Manager in a financial services tax team of a Big Four.

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posted by Simon Godley

Tax Jobs - Weekly Highlights

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

I have picked up recently a couple more in-house indirect tax/VAT roles, generally at the experienced Manager level, c.£60-70k. Whilst these are specialist roles, I get the feeling from Heads of Tax that the VAT/indirect tax position of a group can be as critical as the CT/direct tax side. This is particularly the case if the group is either loss making or not paying CT, in which case the majority of the creative tax planning has to come from the VAT/indirect work.

Indirect Tax & Transfer Pricing Manager - Home Counties
£60,000 - £65,000 + Car + Bonus
See More Details

European VAT Manager - Surrey
£60,000 - £70,000 + Bens
See More Details

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posted by Simon Godley

Tax Directors - Quotes

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Through the process of reviewing material for this blog, I am trying to pick up quotes from Tax Directors of multinational groups.

I like quotes from people, I think they reveal a lot of truth, particularly when the person quoting has first hand experience of the subject they are commenting on.

Here are a couple that I have uncovered recently:

"To be a successful in-house tax director you have to be willing to step out of your comfort zone of just dealing with tax matters and become more involved in business decision making. I work with Treasury on funding issues, HR on expatriate issues such as equity compensation and finance on business model structuring."

Alex Yuen, Director of Corporate Tax at The Walt Disney Company (Asia Pacific)

"The profile of the tax department has increased and it is no longer sufficient [for a tax director] to be knowledgeable about tax. A tax director must be part of the management team and be involved in establishing the direction of a company. It takes a willingness to work hard."

William Ramirez, Senior Tax Counsel, Altria Corporate Services

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posted by Simon Godley

Tax Temps - who employs you?

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

By Simon Godley
(Legal source: Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP)

In the long-awaited decision of James v London Borough of Greenwich, the Court of Appeal has upheld the decision of the employment tribunal that an agency worker, supplied by an employment agency, was not employed by the end-user (and therefore was not entitled to those statutory rights which are only available to employees, such as the right not to be unfairly dismissed).

The Court of Appeal has clarified, to some extent, in what circumstances an agency worker is or is not an employee of the end user, emphasising that the implication of a contract of service must be necessary to give effect to the business reality of a relationship between the worker and end user.

The Court of Appeal confirmed that the correct legal question is not whether the individual is an "agency worker" but whether he is employed by the end user under a contract of employment. The two types of contract - agency agreement and contract of employment - are not necessarily mutually exclusive and it is legally possible for a worker to have one kind of contract with the agency and another with the end user. A tribunal should therefore assess the factual evidence carefully to determine whether the individual is an employee. Where there is no express contract, the tribunal must consider whether it is necessary to imply a contract of employment between the parties.

In this case, the tribunal was entitled to conclude that the individual, Ms James, was not an employee of the end user (the Council) because there was no express or implied contractual relationship between her and the Council. Her only express contractual relationship was with the employment agency and, similarly, the Council's only express contractual relationship was also with the agency. The tribunal was correct when it found that it was unnecessary to imply a third contract between Ms James and the Council to give business reality to the relationship between the parties: what both Ms James and the Council did was fully explained by the express contracts they had respectively entered into with the employment agency.
Interestingly, the Court added that it is aware of the controversy at both a domestic and EU level about the absence of job protection for agency workers. However, it emphasised that courts and tribunals cannot confer the right not to be unfairly dismissed on a worker who does not have a contract of employment. It is not for them to express views about a change or to initiate change: this is a matter of social and economic policy for debate in and decision by Parliament.

The above case shows that the whole area of companies 'employing' temps via agencies is still a bit of a minefield, particularly regarding the rights of the worker (temp). It seems that the pressure is on the agencies to be very clear about contracts that are put in place, and between which parties.

Any other input or views on this would be very welcome.

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posted by Simon Godley

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