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Since 1927 the leading authority on tax law, practice and administration

Playing with the big boys

29 March 2011
Issue: 4298 / Categories:
And the girls as well, of course. RICHARD CURTIS has a few ideas from Taxation


  • Continuing professional development: are you getting enough?
  • Why haven’t you entered the Taxation Awards?
  • Do you use our website and receive our emails?
  • Have you heard about Taxation 2? It’s free!
  • Are you a budding Taxation author?
  • What do you think we should change or add?

On the basis that you are reading this I will assume you’re interested in tax.

On the other hand, if you’re idly flipping through these pages while sitting in your accountant’s waiting room, you might want to have a quick look in the Readers’ Forum section further on in the magazine to see if he or she has sent your intractable tax problem to us, in the hope that our readers can provide an answer that he can then present as his own and charge you for.

Well, how do you think he’s paying for that new BMW that you saw sitting outside?

Perhaps that’s the first lesson for the budding tax specialist seeking to build up his own practice or show off their client networking and business-development skills to their employer: don’t drive a car that’s too flash. It only upsets the clients and makes them think that you are overcharging them.

But at Taxation we must have other ideas that can help you polish up your tax skills.


Continuing professional development (CPD). Don’t cringe! You’ve probably got a time code for this, something else, along with the ubiquitous admin, that eats into your chargeable time, unless the subject under discussion coincidentally happens to relate to a client who has a problem in that area that you can bill some research time to.

But are you getting enough? CPD: don’t daydream. I know time is tight, but have you ever thought you could use the weekly New Queries in Taxation as part of your CPD?

They are all based on real practical scenarios sent in by our readers. (No, I don’t spend hours racking my brains trying to make them up. Well, not many hours, anyway).

Why not choose a question each week (or if you’re the tax manager or partner, choose a question for your team members each week) and write a 500-word reply summarising the issues that need to be considered, the suggested approach and any other points that might be relevant.

Compare your reply to those we publish. If you think that your replies are better, why not send them in to us; we pay £40 for a reply that’s published in the magazine.

Don’t forget to declare this on your tax return, of course. By the by, if anyone is reading this who is now thinking ‘no one told me I had to pay tax on that’, they might want to consider HMRC’s tax amnesty for plumbers.

Yes, I know it’s for plumbers; but if you think about it, we’re both in the business of stopping leaks aren’t we?

Taxation Awards

Do you receive our annual Taxation Awards supplement each May and think, ‘Who are all those glamorous and attractive women and handsome men that appear in the photographs?’?

Well, believe it or not, they aren’t models specially recruited for the evening (well, not by us, anyway, although Mr X might want to keep sending those brown envelopes Ed), they are other tax advisers.

What are they doing there, you ask, your nose metaphorically pressed against the plate glass windows of the Park Lane Hilton. Well, they had the nerve to think that they were doing a good job advising their clients, so why not tell the world – well, the tax world – about it.

What better way to promote your business and abilities to your clients and prospective clients by winning or even being shortlisted for an award? Are you or your team brave enough to give it a go?

You might have missed this year’s deadline for entries, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t come along, incentivise your tax team, impress your clients, network with your peers, trip the light fantastic and dance the night away.

Having met them you might think that if these firms can go for it, so could you. Perhaps you could even be one of those beautiful people in the supplement. (Thinks: why haven’t I featured before now?)

It’s not what you know…

Let’s face it: when dealing with your clients’ tax affairs, it’s not what you know, it’s what you don’t know that causes you problems.

And as the UK apparently now has the world’s longest tax code, your brain is probably not big enough to fit it all in. In that case, the most important thing to know is that there is a potential problem and where to look for the answer.

We’d like to think that Taxation can answer most problems, so why not put aside some regular time to make sure that you read it.

If time is pressing, make sure that you – and all your tax people – have signed up to receive our weekly e-newsletter (sign up at the foot of the homepage). It tells you everything that’s in that week’s issue. You can click through to the online version article, but even if you don’t, hopefully, when you hit upon a related problem, you will remember that there was an article on the subject.

Your career, your practice

Taxation has been published since October 1927, so in tax years that’s, erm, 84 tax years, but unless you’ve been using it to cover up that mayonnaise stain on your chair before you sit down, you’ll find that it’s still as fresh-faced and uncreased as the day it was born.

It does have a younger and rather edgier sibling: Taxation 2, aka ‘your career in tax’, which is published monthly with career development ideas, profiles and other articles, as well as news of ‘movers and shakers’. What’s more it’s free.

Let me emphasise that, not free this month and then easy monthly payments by direct debit for following months. No: free this month, free next month and free in the following months. So why aren’t you receiving it?

Just send us an email and we will mail a copy to your home or office as you prefer. (By the way, it’s got job adverts in it as well, so maybe we should send it to your home.) Why not tell us if you’ve moved firms, or if you’ve started a firm, or if you have any juicy gossip about your firm.


They say that everyone has a book in them. My reply to this is usually ‘True, but in my case it was Tolley’s Tax Office Directory’.

You may not feel able to write a book, but what about an article for Taxation. Maybe you’ve written some replies to the Readers’ Forum and now feel that you want to progress to the next technical step.

Alternatively, maybe you’d like to take a lighter, less technical approach, in which case what about an article for Taxation 2? Remember how proud your mum and dad were when you brought home from school that picture of a flower that you’d coloured in when you were five?

Just think how happy and interested they will be when they see your article on the intricacies of transfer pricing in print. We can even send you an extra copy or two if they want to frame it. (Stay calm Ms Y, your secret is safe with us Ed) Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be as complicated as transfer pricing; we are just as interested in ‘tax basics’ as tax complicateds.

Certain change

The Buddhists among you will know that the only thing that is certain is change – although now I think of it, didn’t Benjamin Franklin also mention death and taxes on the certainty front? Whatever; although we still use Pantone 199C – or ‘Taxation red’ as we prefer to call it – as the basic colour of the magazine, we know that it must evolve.

We have some thoughts about future developments that we’d like to make to add value for our readers, but we are always open to suggestions, so let us know how we can make it better. Don’t worry, we won’t change the colour, after all we want to make sure that it’s ‘red all over’. I said ‘read all over’... suit yourself.

The leading authority…

Hopefully tax professionals will still be reading Taxation in another 84 years’ time, but to make sure that is the case, we do rely on our subscribers reading and liking the magazine and website, and to make sure that’s the case we do value feedback on our content and presentation, so if you have tax likes and dislikes we look forward to hearing from you.

Now read on…

Issue: 4298 / Categories:
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