The changing world of the family tax adviser

By John Cairns, French Duncan

21 April 2015

John Cairns discusses the changing world of the family tax adviser, ahead of the ICAS Tax Conference.

Tax is never far from the headlines, as the recent media coverage on tax avoidance and evasion has shown yet again. Tax avoidance and issues including succession planning and inheritance tax are just some of the challenges that the family tax adviser needs to be aware of in an ever-changing landscape.

So how can you stay a step ahead of these changes and give the best possible support to your clients?

I'll be addressing this and other important issues at the ICAS Tax Conference on 21 May 2015.

First up will be the choice of business vehicle, partnership versus company, the extraction of profits, and whether to retain a valuable property personally on incorporation or to transfer this to a company.

I will also look at the effects of recent legislative changes and the current political drum beating against perceived tax avoidance. Examples include fixed share partners of limited liability partnerships, inheritance tax deeds of variation, where a properly drafted will is now even more important, and accelerated payment notices. How aggressive can we be in tax planning and are HMRC tightening up on a daily basis? What approach should tax payers who have been involved in tax schemes take, where the position is unresolved?

Should we be telling clients about tax schemes? What is out there and what should we be doing when a client comes to us seeking advice on a scheme which a third party may have presented to him? Does ICAS have a view and is there guidance?

Change in a family business is fraught with difficulty as there are both business and family dynamics at work. There can be a number of technical solutions to, for example, succession issues but what is the right one for not just the business but family members some of whom may be involved in the business and some who aren't. Parents may want to treat their children equally but recognise that the child who is most likely to take over the running of the family business should perhaps have shareholding control of this. The business may be the major family asset.

In times of increasing uncertainty in tax, what support can we get from HMRC? The local tax office has gone and with it the approachable District Inspector. Customer Relationship Manager or call centre? I shall cover some of my experiences with non statutory clearance applications.

We'll finish up with a question and answer panel session and I hope that the areas which I have covered will generate a bit of discussion and together with the other panel members, I'll do my best to deal with left field balls and daisy cutters.


  • Tax

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