Tax & Trust Accountants
Tax & Trust Advisers
London, United Kingdom
Business and Consumer Services
James Walker joined haysmacintyre as a private client tax partner in late 2019 from Buzzacott, to return to his true ‘love’ of looking after clients with a more ‘hands-on’ approach. ‘I enjoyed the challenge of steering a team, but realised I enjoyed the client contact more,’ he says.
Walker began his career in the Channel Islands, spending ten years in the tax teams of two well-known trustee companies, qualifying as both a chartered accountant and chartered tax adviser. He specialises in the UK taxation of HNW non-UK domiciled individuals, ‘offshore’ trust/company structures and related settlors and beneficiaries.
‘The UK’s tax regime is complex and ever evolving, so I aim to be my clients’ guide, helping them navigate the rules so they can focus on the things they are best at,’ he says.
He describes his approach as being ‘whatever the client would like me to be’ as a tax adviser. ‘If that means someone who is in the background merely as a service provider, then so be it,’ he says. ‘However, if that means someone who is more of a “friend” and trusted adviser, then I very much enjoy that role too. Either way, I hope to be someone they trust.’
Walker is a combination of an engineer (where he earnt his degree) and a Chartered Accountant and Chartered Tax Adviser, which can help him to look at things from a different perspective. ‘I have previously been the head of private clients at a similar sized firm before moving to step back and refocus on client work and relationships rather than team leadership,’ he adds.
A pivotal moment for Walker came in the Channel Islands in 2000, was when he was made responsible for reviewing some third party tax planning ideas that were pitched to trustees within his firm and reporting back on whether they were suitable.
‘My naturally prudent nature and curiosity for those who appeared to be squeezing the UK tax legislation to within an inch of its life caused me to ask detailed technical questions of the scheme designers,’ he recalls.
‘The replies appeared to try and “baffle with science”, so I suggested to the trustees that the schemes felt too aggressive and not something we should be associated with. Fast forward a few years, and similar schemes were being successfully challenged in the courts and HMRC were given wide powers to claw back tax that the taxpayer otherwise felt was not due thanks to a scheme. Prior to this, I had begun to feel that I was perhaps too cautious but felt vindicated in my approach.’
Accountant, London, United Kingdom
Recommended 2020, Tax & Trust Accountants