Everyone shall sit under their own vine
I have had the immense honour and privilege to serve as ATT President for two years and this seems a good time to reflect on what has happened since my appointment on the 4 July 2019. The date takes on more significance now as incidents across ‘the pond’ have influenced us a lot more in the last two years than I can remember.
As I write, the Biden tax proposals have just impacted upon the G7 leaders’ ‘historic’ agreement. There is still much to be done before we see how this will affect the taxation of multinationals.
Unfortunate events in Minneapolis last May brought matters of equality, diversity and inclusion to the fore. The then CIOT President Glyn Fullelove and I wrote a joint Welcome page in July 2020, expressing both organisations’ commitment to recognising and celebrating the diversity in our profession.
Pre‑lockdown I was able to attend our Branch conference and meet many of the volunteers on our branch network, which remains the pride and joy of both organisations. I hosted and attended the Joint Presidents’ Luncheons in Cardiff and Edinburgh; was hosted by the Merseyside, North East and Northern Ireland branches; and it was an absolute delight to host our Admission Ceremony at the House of Lords. I have since had the slightly dubious honour of having hosted or attended the first online versions of most of these events.
It is impossible to look back and not recognise how Covid‑19 has changed everything. We have all been impacted by the pandemic and my thoughts and prayers go out to those who have lost loved ones or been adversely affected by it. It has made us all reassess our lives and appreciate the importance of both physical and mental health.
This is the main reason why, instead of going through what we have achieved, I would like to use this page to acknowledge some of the people that have helped the ATT. In a period that saw Trump, Boris, Brexit and Biden, there is also not enough space on this page to do it justice. Apologies to those I miss but it has been a heroic team effort and I am so proud of and grateful to everyone.
My thanks in no particular order: Anthony Thomas for his immense support; John Andrews, behind the scenes; past Presidents, Natalie Miller, Yvette Nunn and Ralph Pettengell; Helen Brookson and David Bird who left Council; Tanya Wadeson and Michael Steed (also a Past President) step down before the AGM this year and Julian Millinchamp will be retiring; we mourned the loss of Andy Pickering, our first Executive Director; Roz Baxter, Jude Maidment, Helen Stainton, the Education and Examination teams, for delivering the online exams; Lisa Drakley, Clara Roberts and the events team; Hamant Verma, for his patience and help with external relations; our technical team of Will Silsby, Helen Thornley and Emma Rawson who continue to assist members with their encyclopaedic knowledge; Jane Ashton, our Chief Executive and Helen Whiteman, the Chief Executive of the CIOT, who have both been simply amazing; Glyn Fullelove, CIOT President through most of this journey; Peter Rayney, the current CIOT President; Lakshmi Narain, who introduced me to the joys of volunteering so many years ago; and thanks also to Richard Oury and all the other Partners at Oury Clark, where I work, who have been so supportive of me during this time.
The work of the ATT continues.
We continue to get reports of rogue advisers in the R&D market and our response to the recent consultation (see bit.ly/3gN64JH) reiterates our members commitments to PCRT, as well calling on HMRC to tackle those who give our profession a bad name.
For those of us involved in compliance, completion of individual and corporate tax returns requires reporting SEISS and CJRS grants. Hopefully, not many of us will have a different view to that taken by our clients.
HMRC’s service levels have been less than perfect during the pandemic. While we appreciate that these are difficult times, it is hoped that the restoration of the Agent Dedicated Line for some queries will help.
What all this means is that these continue to be exciting times in tax. I have been ably supported by the Leadership team and Council and I am confident in the ability of Richard Todd, who takes over as President at the AGM, that our Association remains in safe hands. I wish him all the very best.
In conclusion, as I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for the honour, your help and support, and write this page ‘One Last Time’ it seems fitting to borrow a quote from across ‘the pond’:
I want to sit under my own vine and fig tree, A moment alone in the shade Happy with this Association we’ve made
The pandemic has made us all reassess our lives and appreciate the importance of both physical and mental health. I would like to acknowledge the people that have helped the ATT.