Market leading insight for tax experts
View online issue

One minute with... Huw Witty

printer Mail
What sets Gordon Dadds apart? 
Gordon Dadds is an AIM listed, professional services group containing lawyers, tax experts, management consultants, pension advisers, accountants, actuaries and wealth managers. The firm is innovative and expansive, as is demonstrated by the recent acquisition of the tax boutique CW Energy. Gordon Dadds is at the heart of many formal and informal networks which help us direct and coordinate major legal and consulting assignments. As a result, the tax department has a very broad range of work and can provide a wider array of services and solutions. 
If you could make one change to UK tax law or practice, what would it be?
The obvious and slightly facetious comment would be to scrap the lot and start all over again. However, on a more practical note I would introduce a grandfathering rule into UK tax law, so that a taxpayer would have certainty when he entered into a transaction as to what the post-tax outcome of that transaction would be. Clients get quite frustrated when they enter into long term arrangements, only to find that the tax consequences of those arrangements change at the whim of the government. 
Which measure in the recent Budget caught your eye?
It is hard to comment on anything other than the latest changes to taxation of property (basically, bringing the capital gains of non-resident companies on commercial property within the scope of tax; and the application of corporation tax, rather than income tax, to non-resident companies). Taxpayers may get some unpleasant surprises. For example, the latter change may result in the restriction of tax relief for the finance costs of discounted securities under the hybrid regime or the restriction of relief for carried forward losses. I would like to think this is the logical end to a series of changes to the taxation of property which began in 2012. However, it is difficult to say with any certainty that the government will be able to resist taxing real estate further, especially when it applies to non-residents (who cannot vote).
The UK economy weathered the worst effects of recession in the early nineties and, again, after the financial crisis in 2007 with the help of large flows of foreign investment into UK real estate. The current property tax regime may prevent this support occurring in future, which cannot be a good thing. Also, taxing people who cannot vote makes me feel uncomfortable. Taxation without representation was government policy of the middle to late 18th century with disastrous results. 
What’s your view on the state of the tax profession?
In recent years, the profession has taken a lot of criticism in the media and in politics. Much of it is ill-informed and sensationalised. However, despite public criticism, I think that the profession has a good future. Tax law is increasingly complicated and taxpayers need to be guided through the labyrinth of regulation. There are still many planning opportunities, not least in the field of international taxation. Also, tax litigation is likely to increase. HMRC is assertively pursuing taxpayers, admittedly in many cases with justification but, in many others, without it. The need to protect the individual taxpayer against the state has never been greater. 
You may not know this about me…
I am a keen fan of reading Spanish novels, my favourite authors being Manuel Vázquez Montalbán and Juan Madrid. 
Issue: 1380
Categories: One minute with