Buying art? Beware the ‘unlucky seven’
The lack of regulation in the art market continues to cause concern for buyers, due to lack of transparency. So what is the art market doing to reassure them?
13 July 2017
Tell me about your role at Rawlinson & Hunter
I deal with the UK tax affairs of wealthy individuals, the vast majority of whom are international clients with foreign business and personal interests. My role involves providing detailed UK tax advice to clients and managing their tax compliance in collaboration with other professional advisers both in the UK and globally.
Will the UK benefit from Brexit?
I find it impossible to predict any long-term outcome of Brexit and it is difficult to say whether the UK will benefit because we will never know what the alternative would have been if it hadn’t happened. Nonetheless, I am still seeing international individuals moving to the UK, either as their first move or returning here after periods of living elsewhere, and very few of those who are here are going in the other direction. In both the European and global context I still personally believe in the strength, safety, and quality of the UK in terms of its economy and a place to live.
Has the private client industry changed?
The UK tax landscape has changed considerably in the recent decade. UK tax legislation has become incredibly difficult, meaning that we have to work harder than ever for our clients to get their tax right. The rules around the remittance basis of taxation have tightened up so that an increasingly hands-on involvement of UK advisers is needed in the wider international context of a client’s affairs. In the current world of global travel and instant communication, clients expect answers and solutions quickly. Entrepreneurial activity has gained enormous momentum and the private client industry has had to keep up with the time demands and the driving passion of this dynamic, connected and precise way of working.
Can you tell us about any interesting client instructions?
There are many and varied. Working to find UK solutions for individuals with interests in France, Belgium and Luxembourg; responding to a Revenue enquiry about a payment which falls into a grey area of taxation characterised by case law precedents; acting for young students buying high-value prime central properties; advising trustees who hold assets for feuding family members. Sometimes the most interesting cases are the ones with the least tax due but the outcome makes the biggest difference or wins a technical argument.
What are the main challenges your clients face?
Constant tax rule changes have put clients under pressure to adapt quickly, and have introduced uncertainty into their personal and business finances. Many of our clients are affected by the changes that were introduced in the Finance Bill 2017 to take effect from 6 April 2017 which have now been deferred, leaving clients in a position where there is no legislative footing for the current tax year, so they cannot be certain as to how they are currently subject to tax. Some clients have shown caution about the trend towards making personal financial information public, such as the concept of public trust or company registers, which have generated concerns over personal security and the right to privacy.
What was the last book you read?
Dr Johnson’s London by Liza Picard. It is a thematically organised illustration of almost every aspect of daily life of Londoners in the mid-1700s. Taken from historical evidence gathered from a whole range of sources from the period, the book is a collection of trivial but fascinating insights into how real people actually lived then, in areas and streets of London that we still use every day today: our offices are next to Gough Square, where Dr Johnson, author of the first dictionary, lived during that period. From the extravagant architecture to the ridiculous fashions, the formal etiquette and the crazy medical beliefs that were generally accepted as best scientific practice, the book really makes you feel like you were there.
What do you do to unwind?
I have begun commuting to the office on the river boat, which is a very pleasant experience. I find that I unwind instantly after boarding, especially on a summer’s evening with the views of the city rolling by on either side and, on occasion, a glass of something in hand.