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One minute with...Dominic Stuttaford

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How did you get into tax? 
It was the penultimate stage in my training contract. I found it intellectually challenging and at the same time enjoyed the challenge of advising on a diverse range of transactions and matters. The range has never stopped increasing.
What’s in your in-tray?
Continuing to build the international tax practice, both in Europe and more widely, most recently with hires in Amsterdam and Frankfurt. Our tax group has grown enormously in the last five years with Norton Rose Fulbright’s expansion through combinations in Australia, Canada, South Africa and the United States, so part of my role is to work closely with colleagues around the world to provide an integrated global tax offering to our clients. This mirrors the increased focus on international tax matters from our clients.
What’s the number one practical tax issue facing your clients?
Managing their tax risk across the multiple jurisdictions they operate in, not just in liability and financial terms but also in reputational terms. While some clients are affected more than others, all are conscious of the issue.
Aside from your immediate colleagues, whom in tax do you most admire and why? 
Other than current and former Norton Rose Fulbright colleagues, anyone who can make complexity simple. One such person is Mr Justice Henderson. His judgments inspire immense respect.
What stood out for you in this week’s Budget? 
Among the raft of measures, two instantly stood out: the hike in the rate of IPT, and the restriction imposed on depreciation for goodwill. The latter in particular is hard to fathom out. While the availability of depreciation was a factor in deciding which way to buy a business, it was far from the only one, even while looking at the tax alone.
Where do you stand on the OECD’s BEPS project? 
Changes are inevitable, but they should be specific, well thought through and targeted. They should recognise that not all international tax structures are ‘unfair’ or wrong. It would also be helpful if we could see more concrete proposals, so that we have more certainty.
If you could make one change to UK tax law or practice, what would it be? 
That there is less of it. I look back with nostalgia to the days when the Yellow and Orange books were half the size. Even for lawyers like us who enjoy the technical and intellectual challenge, the amount of material is daunting. 
If I could have a second wish, it is for governments to address the mismatch between capital gains tax rates and the rate at which employment income is taxed.
Finally, you might not know this about me but… 
Before settling down to married life with children, I went on a number of horse-safaris, which led to a number of terrifying encounters with lions, leopards and hippos. More recently life is restricted to riding on a Scottish beach, avoiding the seals.
Issue: 1270
Categories: One minute with