John is a partner working within the Tax and Private Client teams at Schofield Sweeney.
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John combines the disciplines of being a corporate tax lawyer with private client practice to have specialities in preparing tax and estate planning reports for high net worth clients, advising on business succession arrangements and implementing HMRC approved share schemes. He drafts Wills, Trusts and Lasting Powers of Attorney predominantly for the owner managers of SMEs and provides tax advice on SDLT, ATED, VAT and inheritance tax.
What’s the biggest development you’ve seen in the legal world during your career?
As a tax lawyer there has been a fundamental change in attitudes and public perception of what is acceptable tax planning. This change in perception has coincided with the creation of perhaps the most complex tax code in the world. With increasing numbers of clients having international reach, the challenges and opportunities for a tax lawyer have multiplied, with advice now going beyond black letter law into reputational and even moral dimensions.
What law would you like to see changed?
As a stamp duty land tax specialist, I would like to see a reversal of a number of the recent changes affecting residential property. I reject the use of the tax system to drive policy in an area as complex as housing.
What is the most exciting work you’ve ever done?
I have been lucky enough to work on number of high profile property developments often involving inward investment to the UK and the challenges that entails. I enjoy the complexity of the tax issues posed as well as the characters I advise and looking at the end product when buildings as varied as the Battersea Power Station, a Georgian residence in Harrogate or derelict farm buildings in Cornwall are transformed.
Who in the legal world do you most admire?
Chris Whitehouse at 5 Stone Buildings. Chris has a razor sharp brain yet possesses a wonderful ability to explain the difficult and complex in an accessible and often humorous way.
What advice would you give someone starting out in the profession?
Retain an open mind and always being willing to engage in and learn new areas. My career has been more diverse than I could have possibly imagined on qualification. I think more than ever it is important to remain flexible and become the best possible lawyer you can.
We can help you with your tax planning and individual requirements. Please call the team today on 01274 306000. They would love to talk to you.