In our latest “meet the expert” feature, Julian Borley, Director of VAT, talks about his experience of being a poacher-turned-gamekeeper when it comes to VAT, the type of projects he enjoys, and some interesting (and some may say illogical) VAT facts!
Tell us about your Experience
I have worked in VAT since the early 1990s.
Arguably I am a poacher-turned-gamekeeper having started my career with HM Customs and Excise, the predecessor body of HMRC. Even though that experience was now some time ago, it gives me an insight into the mindset of the tax authorities.
Since then, I have worked for a number of accountancy practices starting in London and working my way along the M4 corridor. This has culminated in the last 6 years which I have spent as the Director of VAT here at Milsted Langdon.
What kind of clients and work do you get involved with?
The exciting thing about working for a firm like Milsted Langdon is that you have no idea what the next VAT question you will be asked will be. I deal with every aspect of VAT for every type of client.
The areas of VAT that I enjoy dealing with would be those where the benefit, risk or opportunity is high because of the value of VAT at stake.
For the client, this means that ‘land and property’ deals are of particular interest to me – as would be advising on any new type of supply of service or goods where the VAT treatment has yet to be thought of.
Tell us about some of your most interesting VAT facts
Most people shy away from VAT because it appears completely illogical.
This is because it was designed in Europe in the 1950s, implemented in the UK in the 1970s and does not deal well with innovation.
Many people will be aware that Jaffa Cakes and VAT are inextricably linked (are they cakes or biscuits?) and will scratch their heads as to why the size of a marshmallow can influence whether VAT is chargeable (small and large marshmallows escape VAT but medium-sized ones are subject to it!)
They might even wonder why heated pasties caused the Government so much grief a number of years ago and why it matters whether children’s clothing is made from fur (subject to VAT), goats skin (not subject to VAT) or Mongolian goats skin (subject to VAT again).
Understanding these issues means that I can navigate the tax for my clients and ensure that the most beneficial treatment is applied for those times that it appears illogical in respect of their own supplies of goods and services.