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Tax Experience v Tax Qualifications - starting up a practice

Tax Experience v Tax Qualifications - starting...

Good afternoon

I'm looking for some advice in relation to tax qualifications and setting up a tax practice, if anyone would kindly help.

My step-father is a former tax inspector for HMRC, with 35 years experience in a nutshell. He's currently unemployed and feeling slightly lost. I have broached the subject of him starting up his own tax practice but he's not entirely convinced at the moment although he is interested. I think he's concerned about the lack of an actual tax qualification from CIOT and the like but I'm pretty sure from a few Google searches, his experience is more than his weight in gold and so he wouldn't even need a tax qualification from the tax bodies. In other words, he could start to build a tax practice today if he wanted to. Is this right? Does anyone have any other thoughts?

Many thanks

Andrew

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22nd Feb 2016 14:09

I'm very surprised.
A former tax inspector with 35 years experience should be able to walk into another job pretty quickly.

Yes he could start a tax practice tomorrow. There is no restriction for him to trade without any formal qualifications.

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22nd Feb 2016 14:19

Thank you for your reply. I believe it was more of a case of he wanted to do something other than tax at first (would you blame him after such a long a stint!) but with a lack of success in looking for other work, the idea of him using his own experience to start his own venture may be the best way forward.

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By pacta
22nd Feb 2016 14:32

Crikey

If I could afford him, I'd hire him. Where's he based? 

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By Glennzy
22nd Feb 2016 14:43

Plenty of work for him.

Is he wanting to set his own tax practice where he prepares a load of tax returns or is he wanting to effectively change sides and start working for clients who have on going tax problems.

If its the latter there is a lot of work available.

Most practitioners on AWEB will have a guy they turn to if a tax issue moves beyond what they are comfortable dealing with.

My skills lie mainly in the business operation side of accountancy and I dont have a heavy tax background so use external consultants on things that is outside my remit.

There are a few guys local to me who do this specialist tax consultancy work and earn very good money any it, without any formal tax qualifications.

 

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22nd Feb 2016 14:46

Consultancy?

I would suggest that he may well be able to set up a good consultancy practice providing services to several local accountancy practices. There are a lot of small/medium accountancy practices who could probably use his services on a case by case basis. 

 

[EDIT] Dam Glennzy beat me to it by 2 minutes. 

 

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22nd Feb 2016 15:27

exactly

T Reece-Evans wrote:

I would suggest that he may well be able to set up a good consultancy practice providing services to several local accountancy practices. There are a lot of small/medium accountancy practices who could probably use his services on a case by case basis. 

 

[EDIT] Dam Glennzy beat me to it by 2 minutes. 

 

This is what i have done for years while im sharpening my own tools. Some excellent ex revenue guys operating in my part of the country.

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22nd Feb 2016 14:48

Thanks for all the help so far, All! I think he will have a good read of this thread later tonight.

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22nd Feb 2016 15:13

If he is looking for consultancy work on an ad-hoc basis i would certainly add him to my 'go to' list for useful tax advice

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By Cleggy1
22nd Feb 2016 15:16

Retire

On an HMRC pension after 35 years I would put my feet up and retire.

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22nd Feb 2016 15:25

Experience

There is loads of guy's like that operating up here...... game keepers turned poachers......some as expert forensic witnesses in legal cases, some involved in niche tax investigation work and other in general (very highly regarded) practice.

To be honest outside CTAs i have always found them the best to deal with. 

Does'nt HMRC have their own internal exams which count as Exceptions for professional accountancy and tax Institute exams anyway??

 

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By DJKL
22nd Feb 2016 15:41

I think the consultancy approach

I think the consultancy  for other accounting practices approach may be the way to go if  he decides not to work for a practice as an employee.

Whilst he may have some accountancy knowledge it will likely be more gleaned from reviewing accounts prepared by others rather than preparing accounts. At the small practice level offering tax advice direct to clients without accountancy, vat returns, payroll etc will be an uphill struggle., the tax work tends to follow the accounts work.

Of course if accounts preparation is something he has experienced then it might be an option, however my experience of HMRC is that they are weaker at accounting skills than practitioners but possibly stronger re tax skills.

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22nd Feb 2016 15:57

Great advice

DJKL wrote:

I think the consultancy  for other accounting practices approach may be the way to go if  he decides not to work for a practice as an employee.

Whilst he may have some accountancy knowledge it will likely be more gleaned from reviewing accounts prepared by others rather than preparing accounts. At the small practice level offering tax advice direct to clients without accountancy, vat returns, payroll etc will be an uphill struggle., the tax work tends to follow the accounts work.

Of course if accounts preparation is something he has experienced then it might be an option, however my experience of HMRC is that they are weaker at accounting skills than practitioners but possibly stronger re tax skills.

 

Bang on mate

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22nd Feb 2016 16:11

Technically, this is something I could help with as I am a qualified ACCA (although I have no practice certificate). I'm not too sure how I'd team up with him just yet but we'd certainly make a good team based on the above and perhaps we could offer a good package to a number of clients one day if our skills were integrated.

I really appreciate all the great advice in this thread.

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22nd Feb 2016 15:43

I'm QBE and "only" had 20

I'm QBE and "only" had 20 years with HMRC rather than 35. I have no trouble finding work (though I did struggle to set up my own, now abandoned, practice, though that was probably symptomatic of other things going on in my life at the time.

I work as an employee in practice, with complete autonomy. I have access to a good library, and have sufficient time to research more complex issues. I deal with tax consequences of company reorganisations, tax planning (including IHT, which if he was mainstream in the Revenue he may have to brush up on, I certainly got very little exposure when I worked there), enquiries and the ever present day to day SA/PAYE stuff etc.

With 35 years experience, once he adjusts his mindset, he'll find it a walk in the park much of the time.

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22nd Feb 2016 16:55

Depends

If he wants to stay with tax and be employed by someone else he should look at

http://www.taxation-jobs.co.uk/

and/or register with a few specialist tax recruitment agencies.

If he wants to work for himself and has specialist skills he will find it easy to set up as a consultant advising small and medium sized firms in his specialism(s) - if he has good people/client facing skills.

All that he needs to do, as a first step, to test the water is mailshot/visit local practitioners to advertise his skills and experience and let them see him face to face so that they can assess whether they feel comfortable dealing with him and entrusting him with client work.

If he is more of a generalist and has focused on inquiry work within HMRC he may find the market is more crowded and the rates that he can charge lower, unless again he can offer niche knowledge or experience.  

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