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At dinner, the legendary Muhammad Ali once told one of Craig Hughes’ clients that ‘the greatest thing you can give to others is your time, as this is the one thing that nobody else can give.’ It’s a quote that the Menzies partner has become fond of using himself, he says, even if it does occasionally elicit good-natured sighs from his colleagues. Hughes spent more than a decade working within the Big Four accountancy firms before joining Menzies, where he is now the lead partner for offshore tax services. With an HNW client base that includes entrepreneurs, international performers, sports stars and corporate executives, he offers tax solutions to family offices, international clients, non-doms and offshore trustees, and specialises in advising non-doms with UK tax planning, and exit planning for those wanting to break UK residency.
Hughes says that tax advisers are hugely important in these times of ever-changing tax legislation and economic uncertainty, despite the amount of tax planning information available online.
‘There is a lot of information about taxation available on the internet, such that clients and prospective clients have the opportunity to research and become familiar with tax concepts,’ he says. ‘However, there is a big difference between information and advice.
‘We have many cases where new clients have tried to act alone, based on information they have found online. But, sadly, they apply and implement that information incorrectly.’
One client, who received Hughes’ advice on establishing a trust and applying for residency in Jersey, was full of praise for the tax partner whose advice made the process a ‘painless exercise’. Another described him as the ‘ultimate professional’.
He adds that more recently, and as a result of restricted travel, many clients have thought ‘long and hard’ about their futures and indeed whether they wish to remain in the UK.
As a result Hughes has advised clients looking to leave the UK and help them settle elsewhere, but at the same time, it is ‘pleasing to see that some have decided now is the right time to relocate back to the UK, to be closer to family and friends’.
‘Now is the time to plan and act in advance of the likely tax changes to come,’ he adds.
Recommended 2020, Tax & Trust Accountants