Next up is Alex Covey, a private client tax specialist working out of our Taunton office.
What do you enjoy most about being a tax adviser?
For me, my job isn’t just about tax, it’s about the people and the personalities behind the numbers. I like to take the time to get to know my clients, because I am genuinely interested rather than just doing a basic job for them and leaving it at that. I have such a mix of clients and what keeps the job interesting is that each client makes a living in a different way. It is always great to save my clients tax, using simple, but effective tax planning.
Alex I “moustache” you a question!! Your facial hair is a pretty impressive feature, could you take us through your grooming tips!
Well, I’m afraid that the handlebar moustache that you’re referring to is “no more”. As an Englishman, something felt a little wrong about going to Germany with a moustache so I shaved it off the morning I flew to Cologne recently. At 29, I also felt it aged me a little more than I needed as I cling desperately to my twenties!
Could you outline your key planning tips for owner managers ?
I am a great believer of the simplest forms of tax planning being the most effective. Remuneration planning can be extremely effective where director shareholders take a mixture of salary, interest and dividends to maximise the use of tax allowances for each. This can either give them the same net cash a as a salary, whilst reducing the cost to the company of providing it, or increase the director’s net cash at no extra cost to the company, depending on who benefits from the tax saving.
In addition, company pension contributions can provide for retirement, boost the corporation tax saving for the company and also help to fund the purchase of a commercial property within the pension fund, which will then be protected if the company is sold, or runs into financial difficulties in future. A great example of “having your cake and eating it!”
You have a busy life outside of the office, what are your main interests?
I do! This consists mainly of target shooting where I have represented both GB and England and was even captain of the GB junior squad back in my younger days. I’m also a hockey player and a captain and treasurer of a hockey club and a lover of all sport. I’m also a hiker and have recently walked the Inca trail and Machu Picchu. Finally, I’m also a bit of a car enthusiast and love travel so all in there’s plenty of things to keep my free time jam packed!
Alex I hear you have had recent success acting for London based professionals, why is location no longer a factor for quality tax advisers such as yourself?
Yes, that’s right. In this day and age, the ability to speak over the phone and deal with things by email means that it is no longer imperative to meet with clients and furthermore, particularly in the case of London based clients, Albert Goodman and I are able to offer them genuine city level advice for countryside prices with nearly 300 staff and 8 offices.
I have also carried out some very simple and effective tax planning involving the use of pension contributions for higher earners, who would ordinarily be restricted on the contributions that they can make in any one tax year, by making use of unused annual allowances from the years before the restrictions came into force. As an example, I helped one client get £25,000 into their pension fund at a net cost after tax relief of just £11,400, this was due to the higher rate tax saving as well as recovering most of their personal allowance (which is relevant for those earning over £100,000).