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One minute with ... Jennie Rimmer

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 How did you end up in tax?

I did Revenue Law as an option subject for my LLB. When I graduated, KPMG was offering its Tax Business School to allow graduates to fast track their tax qualifications through a period of full-time study. I was accepted onto the Business School programme and the rest, as they say, is history!

Who in tax do you most admire?

Jonathan Schwarz – he is an incredibly talented and experienced international tax barrister who manages to combine an in-depth expertise with the ability to explain it clearly.

The best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Understand your audience, keep listening – and always be true to yourself.

The biggest practical problem you face in your current role?

Maintaining an appropriate level of tax risk management in parallel with the needs and expectations of the business.

What’s the decision in your recent working life of which you are most proud?

Joining three CIOT Committees – Corporate Tax, International Tax and the Commerce & Industry group. Within the Commerce & Industry group we try to provide practical support and networking opportunities for those tax professionals working in-house, and the attendance at our evening meetings, and at our Annual Conference over the last three years has grown three-fold. The work for each of these Committees has to be done outside of the 'day job', but the time and effort is rewarded through the opportunity to partake in lively and instructive discussions, and to meet a variety of interesting people from all different business backgrounds.

If you could make one change to UK tax law, what would it be?

Scrap the 50% tax rate for higher rate taxpayers. It sends the wrong message to those doing, or thinking of doing business in the UK, has not been proven to have raised the expected level of additional income and adds an unnecessary additional layer of complexity to individual self-assessement.

The most significant tax case in recent years, and why?

The recent Vodafone decision by the Indian tax authorities has led to worldwide sighs of relief that the taxpayer has been supported by the Indian Court in its ability to rely on legislation and accepted practice.

By contrast the recent UK Gaines-Cooper decision gives the opposite message that accepted practice (in the absence of clear legislation) can be changed retrospectively which gives further uncertainty to individuals (and potentially also to businesses) who undertake legitimate tax planning.

What, if anything, could the UK learn from overseas jurisdictions?

I think the UK’s tax landscape is viewed as one of the most sophisticated in the developed world, but also one of the most complicated. There should be a continuous drive towards further simplification, balanced with the need to protect the Exchequer from abusive practices.

If you hadn’t gone into tax, what else might you have done?


Issue: 1112
Categories: One minute with