JAMES WALKER - Spear's Magazine

JAMES WALKER

BUZZACOTT

JAMES WALKER
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‘The idea behind the team is to be the support person for the client,’ says James Walker, the head of private client at Buzzacott. ‘It’s all about their taxes, so we aim to provide a really good compliance service, because that is how we get to know our clients really well.’

Brought up in Zambia and Kenya, Walker studied manufacturing engineering and commerce, before going on to work for Abacus, Royal Bank of Canada and Saffery Champness. He now advises the trustees of complex offshore trusts, as well as providing tax planning for the settlors and beneficiaries. ‘My specialism lies on the non-domiciled side – either bringing people to the UK, helping them invest here or helping them to leave,’ he says. Since 2014, he adds, ‘we’ve changed a lot of the things we do, so now we’re much more transparent’.

Walker says his clients are unfazed by the non-dom rules uncertainty, but perhaps that’s how it should be. ‘We are supposed to be a filter for them,’ he explains. Even so, there’s no hiding from the fact that governments are taking a more aggressive stance towards wealth in general. ‘We’re effectively starting on the back foot,’ he says, ‘and if they [HMRC] launch an enquiry, it’s quite antagonistic and the complexity of our tax system needs good advisers to help taxpayers.’

Walker also points to the need for HMRC ‘to change its culture internally because almost every taxpayer tries to do the right thing’.



 

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