How long have you been a tax adviser Andrew?
How did you come to specialise in fast-growth technology-based businesses?
Having previously been a PhD research scientist, I’ve always had an interest in fast-growth technology-based businesses. My career has been focused on working with such businesses and advising on the interaction between corporate and shareholder taxation.
As tax law and practice has changes, I’ve specialised in areas such as capital gains tax, IP exploitation, R&D tax credits, overseas expansion, group structuring, M&A and IPOs. I was fortunate (?) enough to be advising during the dot.com era and was involved with many IPOs on NASDAQ at what we now know were crazy valuations.
Where were you working at the time?
I started my career at GT, progressing through KPMG and then a partner at EY and National Head of Tax for a Top 10 firm, before setting up Jupp Consulting 9 years ago.
What are the most common mistakes you see made by non-specialists in your area of tax?
Not understanding the subtle complexities of tax legislation, taking things at face value, not fully understanding the client’s business and not asking the right questions.
What are the most valuable issues on which you have given advice?
R&D tax credits, Patent Box, overseas structuring.
What differences might you expect to see in the coming year that could impact those issues?
Closer alignment of income tax and CGT rates and changes to cross-border taxation.
What has been your worst experience with HMRC?
In the early days of R&D tax credits, a so-called software expert asking me what an algorithm was!
What has been the most rewarding thing you have done from a tax perspective?
Won a long-standing battle with competing tax jurisdictions over a Competent Authority claim.
How would you describe your attitude to tax?
Treat it as any other business expense; pay and claim what is fair and just and don’t be aggressive in tax planning.
Which aspect of tax would you nominate for a silliest tax rule award?
Top slicing relief (remember it?). I still to this day come out in a cold sweat when I think about it.
What is your top tax tip for general practitioners?
If in doubt, seek specialist advice. It’s a sign of strength, not a weakness.
If you hadn’t gone into tax what would you like to be doing now?
Farmer or vet.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time – away from the world of tax?
Cooking, playing musical instruments, gardening, walking the dogs, sailing.
What other question do you wish I had asked and how would you reply?
What about you would someone never guess? Answer would be “I play a very unusual musical instrument – the piano accordion”.