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One minute with...Ian Gadie

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You have almost 30 years’ experience in tax. What’s in your in-tray at the moment?
I am lucky to have a varied caseload.  At the moment I am working on amongst other things, a voluntary disclosure concerning undeclared benefits in kind; substantiating claims to income tax relief on the basis of customary and better performance of employment duties in connection with the provision of residential accommodation; negotiating penalties on the conclusion of a COP9 investigation. 
Name a memorable moment from your career.
One afternoon I took a call from a client asking for help as HMRC was coming to their offices the next day to investigate their tronc schemes. Over the next 18 months, I went from knowing virtually nothing about troncs to successfully defending the client from potential liabilities estimated at several hundreds of thousands of pounds. It was hard and challenging work, but as we got a great result for the client, it was worth it. 
If you could make one change to UK tax law, what would it be? 
The harmonisation of income tax/PAYE and NICs. PKF Littlejohn has many international clients, and the complexities and contradictions inherent in the two systems make it very difficult for these businesses to fully understand the implications for their internationally mobile staff. That said, I have considerable doubts whether harmonisation is achievable in the foreseeable future.
What advice would you give to someone new to the profession?
Professional qualifications are a necessity for a successful career in tax, but this technical knowledge needs to be applied within a strong moral framework. I think it is very important that the work we do for our clients is both legally correct and ethical. There has been a lot of comment in recent years on aggressive tax avoidance planning and the morality of promoting such schemes. I do not know many clients that actually like paying tax, but they are much better advised to pay the correct amount of tax, rather than run the risk of using an untested scheme which is going to attract the attention of HMRC with all the powers now at its disposal. The next generation of tax professionals should be mindful of their responsibility to their clients to do the right thing for them. 
What’s the number one practical concern on tax for your clients?
Certainty about the tax consequences of their actions. The complexities of the current tax regime make it very difficult for businesses to understand the full implications of some of their decisions. Where the law is not clear, or there is no agreement on HMRC’s interpretation of the law, it is not possible to provide a client with the certainty they require.
What would you most like to say to George Osborne?
We have now had two Budgets in 2015, bringing in significant changes to the tax legislation, combined with a vast range of proposals and consultations to be introduced over the next few years. What I would say to George Osborne is it is time to slow down and give some time for all these changes to settle in so that taxpayers become used to them. Constantly changing things year on year just adds to the difficulties of working within the UK tax system and it is time to consolidate what we currently have in place. 
Tell us a secret.
I am a tegestologist (a collector of beer mats). They are on display in my bar called ‘An Sibin’, which is at the bottom of the garden.