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Making Tax Digital – some breathing space, but only for a few?

There have been a number of calls in recent months for the introduction of Making Tax Digital (MTD) to be put back due to uncertain times ahead, Brexit of course playing a large part in that. HMRC is pressing ahead with the launch of MTD this April however they have made a decision to delay the launch for six months for a small number of VAT registered businesses with more complex requirements.   The businesses whose arrangements are considered to be more complex in nature include trusts, not for profit organisations, public sector entities, traders based overseas, those required to make payments on account, annual accounting scheme users and companies that are VAT registered in divisions of within a VAT group.

Whilst the announcement of the delay is recognition that some of the UK’s largest taxpayers are experiencing difficulties in getting ready for MTD, the vast majority of businesses are unaffected by the announcement.  HMRC says that the deferral will apply to around 3-5% of businesses. Here is everything you need to know about the new digital tax system, planned for just three days after Brexit…..


Digital Tax

The Future of Indirect Tax…

For a bit of fun; we’ve been running a survey over the last few months to gather people’s thoughts on the future of Indirect Tax in the UK; thanks to everyone who participated. The winner of the prize draw for £100 of Amazon vouchers was Bob Fitzsimmons – Congratulations Bob!

The results are in:

Q1. In 2028, the people with responsibility for completing Indirect Tax returns in businesses will be most likely described as:


 BLT comment – the overwhelming majority view that robots will be running the VAT return process is no great surprise, but will be of concern to those Indirect Tax specialists who have carved out their careers in return completion roles. For such, the advice would be to upskill your experience so that you feel completely on top of the technological advances, so that your role ends up as management of the robots. If technology is not your thing, then that’s a bigger concern, and may prompt thoughts of career change.


Q2. In 2028, the bulk of an Indirect Tax advisor’s working week will be predominantly:


BLT comment – equal weighting given to views that an Indirect Tax adviser will be either advising on compliance processes/reporting structures vs. advising on the legislation. So pretty much as it is now!


Q3. If you were to advise the professional services firms on their recruitment strategy for the future, what would you suggest should be the focus?


BLT comment – hiring current Indirect Tax specialists and graduates and training them up in technology the most favoured route. Surprisingly few opting for hiring technology specialists with no Indirect Tax technical experience, suggesting that the Indirect Tax world will remain a comparatively ‘closed’ community.


Q4. Which Indirect Tax professionals will benefit the most from Brexit?


BLT comment – UK trained Indirect Tax specialists win out in the battle of who will do best out of the whole Brexit fiasco!


Q5. Taking a step away from Indirect Tax, what’s your predictions about the impact of Brexit on the UK economy:


BLT comment – well, one can confidently read into this that the bulk of the Indirect Tax population are die hard ‘Remainers’! The vast majority predicting a fair amount of adverse impact for at least ten years doesn’t exactly translate into vast amounts of confidence, particularly when pretty much the same number believe that we’re doomed for eternity as those voting for Brexit being a good thing ultimately!


Q6. But is Brexit good news for the need for Indirect Tax expertise/services


BLT comment – regardless of people’s personal opinions, Brexit is overwhelmingly voted for as good news for Indirect Tax specialists.


Q7. And what do you predict will be the immediate impact (i.e. first 18 months) on the UK Indirect Tax job market in the professional services firms once the UK has left the EU?


BLT comment – steady and cautious growth predicted in the professional services firms rather than gigantic hiring plans


Q8. And on the ‘in-house’ Indirect Tax job market in the UK in the first 18 months post Brexit?



BLT comment – As for the in-house world, big upturn predicted in the need for both advisory and compliance specialists – fingers crossed that that rings true!

Brexit: Dear Agony Aunt….

Dear Agony Aunt

My name’s John. I’d like to think I’m a pretty normal Brit; I’ve got a decent job and I think I’ve done pretty well in life. I love my country and I’ve worked hard. I get on well with most people and people are used to consulting me when they need help. I like to think I’m pretty easy going – so long as have my sausages for breakfast and a pint of real ale in the evening, I’m generally fine.

But I’ve got myself in rather a lot of trouble at the moment and need some advice.

You see, I’ve been married to Marie for the last 46 years. She’s not from these parts but we’ve muddled along pretty well all this time. She can be a bit bossy occasionally, and sometimes I get annoyed that her large family keep coming to visit and then don’t leave. But we’ve got on ok over the years. We’ve been able to provide for our family and it’s been good making friends with her extended family network – it’s certainly broadened my horizons learning about different cultures. To be fair too, the cousins work hard and help out with stuff that I can’t get my side of the family to do. (My side of the family tend to be a bit lazy). The cousins tend to gang up on me when it comes to Eurovision, but it’s all good-hearted fun.

One day a couple of years back, this bloke Nigel that I vaguely knew from down the pub started to tell me that I could do better. That I should ‘man up’ and take more control of my life. After a few pints, I got confused and without thinking of the consequences made a drunken call to Marie to tell her that it was over. I was leaving her. Call it a midlife crisis, call it a cry for help, I’d made that call under the influence, and I couldn’t take it back.

The kids were up in arms of course. The eldest James (who’s a bit left wing and likes to be known as Jock when he’s feeling militant) is keen for us to stay together and is distinctly grumpy about the whole thing and keeps threatening to never speak to me again. Gladys tends to keep her opinions to herself but has been known to butt in at the worst possible time. We don’t tend to listen to her much. It’s the youngest that the biggest headache; we fought really hard to have Paddy and he needs a lot of looking after. Marie wants access rights to Paddy but I can’t figure out a way to make it work.

The lawyers were pretty quick to get going of course. I’ve got Mrs June working for me, who’s a bit stern and humourless, but to be fair she’s been trying to make the best of a bad job. It sounds like she’s been having a tough time of it at work; her colleagues in the city don’t like her and seem to want to undermine her at every juncture for their own personal benefit. I’ve no idea whether the deal that she was trying to strike with Marie was a good one or not, but it’s all a bit of a mess and I don’t think she can now act in my best interests. I’m thinking of sacking her whole firm, but then as far as I can tell, Mr Fisher’s company round the corner is the only other feasible option, and he’s a bit of an idiot. If only we could do without lawyers.

It’s even got to the stage where I’m thinking about calling Marie to apologise and see if she’d have me back. I know her though – she’s proud and probably won’t want me. Even if she had me back, the trust is gone – she’ll keep things from me and will always be worrying about the next time I go down the pub. I really think that ship has sailed and it’s too late.

I’m really worried about being lonely and paying the bills. I think I need a new partner, but the dating game is hard these days. Donna’s meant to be a good catch, but I don’t trust her mental state these days, and she keeps on talking about walls and barriers. Jia Ling is very attractive, but I can’t read her. Kylie’s just laughing at me. I could look further afield of course, but it all looks a bit explosive and probably more hassle than its worth. I’m in conversations with Hans Christian but he’s very liberal round there and it would all be very different to what I’ve experienced before.

As you can see I’m in a mess and need all the help I can get. Any advice as to the way forward gratefully received.

If like John, you could also do with some advice, then do get in touch with us at BLT  ( We won’t be able to come with a miracle Brexit solution, but I’m sure we’ll be able to give you some options to help your future Indirect Tax or Management Consultancy career.

GNB Blog

New Year Resolutions? Are they worth making? by Catriona Cookson

So, we’re one full working week into the New Year so if you’ve made New Year Resolutions, you’ll be well on the way to seeing if you can stick to them! Many people will be doing Dry January …and good luck with that if you are, but January is a miserable month anyway so difficult to deny yourself even more. A dry October or November seems a much more sensible option before the fun of the Christmas festivities begins.

I’ve always thought this whole idea of New Year Resolutions seems to either be quite negative – in terms of things you are going to give up or so intense and radical that they’ll be impossible to achieve. The first Sunday Times magazine of the year on the 6th January took a different approach and was titled “Small Changes, Big Differences” which was refreshing and seemed achievable. This covered a whole range of topics from some tips on how to get a better night’s sleep to some healthy recipes from Tom Kerridge and the benefits of a walk in the fresh air for better wellbeing.

I prefer this idea of “doing more of …. “which should in turn reduce an alternative, so for example “I’d like to read more” should mean that I spend less time with the TV on not watching anything in particular. Or “I intend to eat more vegetables and salad for snacks” …surely a bowl of tomatoes, cucumber, sugar snap peas etc means I will be less likely to reach for the biscuit tin on some occasions. This is much more positive than “I am going to give up biscuits “which I would find so difficult, actually practically impossible!!

Perhaps that might be a better way to approach the New Year and the choices you make in your life!

NY new you

As we head in to the New Year are you thinking of refreshing and updating your cv? by Catriona Cookson

A recent article by which you can see here highlights 8 things recruiters don’t look for in cvs….interesting approach as usually we focus on what to include so a useful reminder on what to leave out!

While I’d broadly agree with most of them, I’d also suggest the following:

Review and update your cv regularly – Update with details of your last consulting project while it’s still fresh in your mind and don’t forget to reduce the content of your earlier roles as you gain more experience …you don’t want a 5-page cv!! On the other hand, don’t cram it all on one page – I’ve never seen a one-page cv I like!!

IT experience – include any systems/applications etc which you would be hapoy working with on a daily basis as increasingly key word searches are used to filter applications. Likewise, include relevant qualifications – yesterday I was speaking to someone who had included his PRINCE 2 qualification on his LinkedIn profile but not his cv. Ensure this information is included as again it may be a preselection criteria on cv screening and you don’t want to miss out.

Home address – while you don’t necessarily need to include your full postal address, it is useful to have a sense of where an individual lives, and may be particularly helpful in sourcing for roles outside of Central London. If this information is missing, I assume the individual is living miles away and trying to disguise this. If you live in Glasgow and want to work in London or relocate from Paris, let’s talk about it and see how we can facilitate this.


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