How Will Brexit Affect UK Taxation?
To hear about tax planning and the things that need to change in the UK tax legislation Finance Monthly speaks with Adele Raiment, Director of the Tax Advisory team that specialises in entrepreneurial and privately owned businesses at Mazars LLP. Adele’s main area of expertise is working with privately owned businesses to develop and implement […]
To hear about tax planning and the things that need to change in the UK tax legislation Finance Monthly speaks with Adele Raiment, Director of the Tax Advisory team that specialises in entrepreneurial and privately owned businesses at Mazars LLP. Adele’s main area of expertise is working with privately owned businesses to develop and implement a succession plan, to ensure that any assets that the shareholders wish to retain are extracted in a tax efficient manner and she also works with all parties to assist in the smooth running of transaction.
What are the typical challenges faced by shareholders of entrepreneurial and privately owned businesses in the UK, in relation to the management of their finance?
I think the main concern on the horizon is the potential impact of Brexit on the UK economy and business confidence more widely. For privately owned businesses in the UK, many are still very cautious following the 2008/09 recession, and with the uncertainties surrounding Brexit, it is difficult to plan too far ahead. One of the main priorities of shareholders is ensuring that they have sufficient cash reserves to ride any potential downturn in the economy whilst recognising that they need to invest and innovate to thrive.
What is your approach when helping clients with tax planning?
My approach is to primarily understand the client’s commercial and personal objectives in priority to considering any tax planning. When planning for a transaction, I frequently find that the most tax efficient option isn’t always going to meet the key objectives of the shareholders or the business. It is important to consider the shareholders and the business as one holistic client, and therefore strike the right balance between personal, commercial and tax objectives. In respect of tax specifically, it is important to take all relevant taxes in to consideration whether it be corporate or personal. A good understanding of all taxes is therefore required.
My clients vary from FDs, to engineers, to self made entrepreneurs – all requiring different approaches. I believe that it is fundamental to get to know your client and adapt your approach to ensure that they understand you and what you are trying to achieve.
What are some of the day-to-day challenges of operating within tax planning? How do you overcome them?
As I predominantly work on transactions, I often work very closely with other professionals such as corporate finance professionals, lawyers and other accountants. The key challenge to this is making sure that the whole team is working collaboratively to achieve the best result for our client.
We are also under pressure to keep costs down, whilst ensuring that we provide quality advice. This can be difficult if the team has multiple transactions on the go at the same time and senior resource is constrained or if the project is wide-ranging, requiring several specialists to input in to the advice. The key to this is having a driven and supportive team, where teamwork and openness is pivotal to success. The working environment of my team at Mazars is incredible as we encourage open discussions on a variety of areas but one of the most useful ones is on technical uncertainties, which encourages consultation in times of uncertainty and technical development.
In your opinion, how could UK tax legislation be altered for the better?
Despite an exercise to ‘simplify’ UK tax legislation over more recent time, the legislation has increased in volume. A good example of this is that there are now two separate corporation taxes acts, when previously there was one. Having said this, the majority of the language used in more recent acts has made the legislation more user-friendly. However, there are still pockets of the legislation that seem to have been rushed through parliament and the practical use of the legislation was not considered fully prior to being enacted. This has resulted in several pieces of legislation being amended a year or two down the line. Although there does seem to be an element of consultation between Practice and HMRC prior to some legislation being enacted, I’m not always convinced that HMRC take on board the feedback. I therefore feel that a more rigorous consultation process should become standard to ensure that the commercial and practical elements of legislation are considered prior to enactment.
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