My time as President of your Association is now at an end. It was a privilege to have represented the Association for the past year.
July 2020 witnessed our first online Annual General Meeting. As a Council, I recall that we had always talked about moving our examinations online, but we never thought that we would have to move the AGM, Council Meetings and all our other meetings and events online. With the assistance of the staff working at Monck Street (or more correctly, working from home), we overcame the initial difficulties, and are now quite competent with that medium of communication. Although I do still have a problem with that ‘mute’ button because it is on when it should not be!
We continued to hold our Admissions’ Ceremonies during the year, albeit online. I am glad to say that we managed to have our first face-to-face Admissions’ Ceremony recently. I would not have enjoyed the year as much if I had been denied the opportunity to welcome our new members.
If you are a new member who attended that event, I trust you and your guest thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It is one of the highlights of the Presidential year because it is an opportunity to meet the new members who will drive the Association forward.
Even during the pandemic, the number of new members joining the Association continued to rise: in the past year we admitted over 500 new Members and over 380 new Fellows.
I regret that I did not get to meet our ATT members, new and existing, the length and breadth of the country because of the pandemic. It is easier and more satisfying in some ways to talk face-to-face than by email or online. I encourage you to speak with the incoming President David Bradshaw and his Deputy Simon Groom, who are both very approachable.
I give a special mention to Mark Kearsley and the Committee of the Merseyside Branch – in fact the whole of the Merseyside Branch. Thank you for making me feel so welcome at your Annual Dinner, and I wish you all the best in your career in tax.
Tax changes every year. On the tax technical side, we see the introduction of Making Tax Digital for Income Tax, coupled with the reform of the basis period – the tax rules that we have applied since 1997 are changing from 2024, with transition in 2023/24.
On a professional level, we need to keep an eye on the government’s consultation on raising standards in the tax market. This has been bubbling along for several years in the background, but as an Association, we need to be in the right place at the right time, and clearly demonstrate our standards to attain Membership.
Our members, both new and established, need to stay up to date with what is happening in the world of tax. And by staying current, it demonstrates to the public and other professionals that the Members of the Association are committed and trustworthy tax professionals.
I have three closing remarks to make.
First, I wish David Bradshaw, Simon Groom and Senga Prior all the very best as they take hold of the reins of the Association and guide us through this decade. I hope and pray they do not have to deal with similar issues that Jeremy Coker and I have faced. I am looking forward to a return to ‘normal’ ( whatever normal is nowadays).
Secondly, thank you Jane Ashton and Sue Fraser. It was an interesting year, and I am glad that I had the opportunity to represent the Association. I hope I responded to your requests within a reasonable timeframe, and that I did not make your work any more demanding than it currently is. I do not think I managed to break anything…
Finally, to the staff at Monck Street, I thank you. I understand that normally the incoming President has the opportunity to meet the staff at Monck Street. That privilege was denied me because of Covid-19. During the past 12 months, I hope that you have felt how much I really do appreciate your hard work – I genuinely do.
My work here is done. I can sign off now.
‘Elvis has left the building’ (mic drops).