Tax & Trust Accountants
Tax & Trust Advisers
London, United Kingdom
Tax, wills & trusts
Business and Consumer Services
The last few years have been unusual, says Menzies’ head of private clients David Truman, as there have been ‘fewer than normal’ changes to tax law. He puts the relative lack of changes in UK tax law down to the government facing larger challenges: first Brexit, and now Covid-19.
That is not to say his work has been plain sailing in recent times: ‘It is also clear that the next few years are going to continue to be difficult, and the indications are that there may be comprehensive change ahead,’ he says.
His diverse and impressive portfolio includes company directors, self-employed individuals, barristers and partnerships. Truman has developed a particular nous at handling non-dom, expat and non-UK trust issues over his illustrious career.
‘The historic compliance business of personal tax has been challenging over the last few years,’ he says. ‘The growth of the internet has made the wider population an “expert” on absolutely everything and made clients much more aware of the opportunities and challenges within their personal affairs.’
However, he sees this digitisation as an opportunity to reduce the time and effort he and other specialists spend on meeting the basic compliance aspects of their job, freeing up time and energy they can spend on advising their clients and building relationships.
Over the last decade, Truman says he has seen ‘wide-reaching’ changes in the attitude of HMRC towards tax avoidance. ‘When I began working in tax, it seemed that HMRC were there to collect taxes while helping the taxpayer to comply,’ he says. ‘Over the last 20 years, they have seemingly become almost completely focused on policing the collection of tax in a procedural and adversarial manner.’
He is clear when he says individuals should pay tax that is due and face punishment for deliberately evading tax, but notes that there are ‘many shades of grey in between’, a fact he believes HMRC has lost sight of over the past decade.
On top of his knowledge of offshore tax issues, Truman helps wealthy clients create long term plans in the face of inheritance tax and family succession matters. Outside the office, he spends a lot of time watching his two boys play football and cricket.