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One minute with... Will Smith

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What’s keeping you busy at work?

Aside from managing the practical issues of the new working environment, we remain busy with certain enduring tax issues linked to the administration of Lehman as well as working closely with our finance teams in terms of helping clients react to, and manage, the issues and concerns which have arisen as a result of the current crisis.

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

Given the recent changes to the UK tax regime – for example, the UK hybrid rules and the extension of the rules relating to the taxation of UK real estate by non-residents – I think there is an argument to simplify the UK’s existing approach to corporate tax residency. That could remove a lot of uncertainty and free up time and resource to focus on other issues.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known at the start of your career?

The fact that over the course of your career exposure to, and understanding of, areas and issues which may, at the time, seem ‘non-core’ or at least relatively obscure will at some point be relevant and helpful. In a tax world which is becoming ever more complex and challenging, having the ability to maintain a relatively broad understanding of different areas is important.

Are there any rules that are causing a particular problem?

The UK hybrid rules continue to pose significant practical issues for the investment funds industry. The issues with double deduction mismatches, the application of the ‘acting together’ concept and the ‘deduction/non-inclusion’ rules have all been challenging. As such, HMRC’s recent consultation on the UK hybrid regime is a very positive step, and one which will hopefully lead to some meaningful developments.

Has there been a recent tax case which caught your eye?

A recent decision of the Spanish Central Economic-Administrative Court considered the impact of the CJEU decision in the ‘Danish cases’ and sought to introduce the EU concept of ‘beneficial ownership’ into Spanish domestic law. This is interesting in relation to the direct impact on Spanish cross-border financing structures, as well as possibly indicating how jurisdictions may seek to develop their domestic tax regimes in the future.

What should we be looking out for later this year?

As I have a significant focus on investment funds, I am excited about the possible outcomes from HMRC’s recent consultation on asset holding companies for funds. Whilst the UK remains a great jurisdiction for locating fund managers, seeing positive developments around using the UK for a wider range of fund investments would be hugely beneficial.

And finally, you might not know this about me but…

Prior to my career in the City, I lived and worked in Vancouver. Whilst scooping ice cream was somewhat different to life of corporate lawyer, it was a great time for living in a different city and enjoying a wonderful outdoor lifestyle.

Issue: 1485
Categories: One minute with