CIOT President's page: A time for reflection

A time for reflection
20 April 2023

I am so proud of all the great things we have done – it is a fabulous team effort.

This is my last article as your CIOT President. It has been an incredible and hugely enjoyable experience for me, and something I will never forget. It’s an honour to have been President of a membership organisation and charity that is so well respected in the UK and globally. I wish my immediate successor all the best. I know that they will continue to champion the CIOT both here and overseas, and welcome our 20,000th member. But let’s hope they don’t also see two monarchs, three prime ministers and four chancellors during their term of office!

I wanted to take a moment to reflect on what has been achieved and the firm foundations that have been laid down for the future of the CIOT. When I joined the presidential team, there were several key areas I was keen raise. I was mindful, though, that the institute has a strategy and can’t be pulled in different directions every time it gets a new President.

Like lots of organisations after the pandemic, the CIOT had to find its feet in the new hybrid world. For me, this allowed me to get out and about meeting people, and as well as joining online events in the UK and overseas. I was able to attend the recent ICAS President’s dinner, our own joint Presidents’ lunch, Admissions and conference. Talking to members, it became apparent that many had frustrations with HMRC service levels, so we picked this up with HMRC and government, providing examples of the issues faced by our members and taxpayers. We will continue to keep the pressure on.

Another overarching theme throughout the past 12 months has been ensuring that we are more inclusive, open and diverse. I am the fourth female to take the role of President. As you may have read in my first article, I am also a state school leaver who is dyslexic and who joined the profession after A levels. (It was, by the way, great to be able to join the World Dyslexia Assembly in New York recently.) We must continue to develop and represent our members, as well encourage people into the profession. From our new diversity and inclusion strategy, the recruitment of council members, hybrid events, changes in style of events and member engagement – as well as the increased activity on social media – hopefully members can see that we are moving forward.

Now I really must take a moment to shout about some technical team successes. These include the delay in MTD; the waiving of penalties for late filing and late payment for a month at the start of the year; changes to Finance Act 2022 on basis period reform and uncertain tax treatment; and the work of our Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG). Hopefully, members know about these and saw the table in last month’s Tax Adviser which gives a fantastic summary of our activities (see page 5).

In November, I was privileged to launch our new qualification the Diploma in Tax Technology. It is fantastic news that students have already passed the course, with more coming on board to study. We live in a dynamic and fast changing world and I’m sure we will see further developments in our qualifications. It’s wonderful that all these efforts have been recognised in the Tolley’s Taxation Awards.

A key aspect of serving as President is chairing council meetings and supporting the executive with its strategy. Soon I will be a Past President, though you don’t completely get let off, attending the Officers Group meetings for a further year to make sure there is some continuity. I intend to continue to champion the institute and the tax profession.

I also have a few thankyous – firstly to Helen Whiteman, my fellow officers Peter, Gary and Charlotte, our CIOT Council members and the fantastic executive team and staff. A quick shout out to John Cullinane who retires shortly as Director of Public Policy and was President in 2007 when I became chair of the new formed Suffolk Branch.

Also, I must thank RSM UK, RSM’s Head of Tax Ali Sapsford and my colleagues in the People Advisory Services team who have enable me to manage taking on the presidential role. Heartfelt thanks must also go to my first Laddy, Richard Smith, who has given me his enthusiastic and constant support throughout my Presidential term. I could go on but there is insufficient space to name everyone – and you know who you are. I also appreciate the encouragement and lovely comments and messages I have had from members during the year – truly humbling.

At the forthcoming AGM, I shall be handing over the reins to Gary Ashford, who will be a fantastic successor. I wish you the very best Gary. I am so proud of all the great things we have done – a fabulous team effort.