60-second interview with Caroline Fleet

Caroline Fleet, 6/3/2018

Caroline Fleet is a Partner at Gabelle in London.

What does your firm do?

We offer tax consultancy services to both professional firms and directly to entrepreneurs, businesses and individuals. We see ourselves as a trusted ‘tax partner,’ so we manage wealth for our clients, minimising their potential tax liabilities and maximising opportunities for tax relief.

What has STEP done for you, individually, or as a business?

STEP offers great technical support through its training, and the STEP Journal offers insightful articles. As a business we often turn to STEP precedents and templates as a starting point. We also value the international reach of the organisation, and the level of expertise that each of the members demonstrates.

You will be speaking at the UK Annual Tax Conference 2018 in May-June. What will you be speaking on and what are the main issues?

I will be speaking about stamp duty land tax (SDLT), looking in particular at the recent changes and some of the higher rates, including surcharges, their complexities, and how they apply to settlements.

What do you most like about your job?

I love the variety in advising clients on their property transactions. One day I can be advising on a Main Residence Relief, the next a property developer’s Entrepreneur’s Relief, or overseas investors on forthcoming tax changes.

.. and what do you feel is most worthwhile?

Helping clients understand the array of taxes that they need to take into account.

What would you say to a young person thinking of a career in this industry?

You will never be bored! In your early years, look to get as broad an introduction to tax as possible. I’d recommend doing compliance, as well as advisory work, to get more of a grounding.

Which sectors are likely to see the strongest future growth, do you think?

International investors are still interested in the UK real estate market, particularly from Asia and the Middle East. There’s also increased interest in regional cities such as Leeds, Manchester and Bristol. However, buy-to-let landlords are feeling under pressure, given the number of tax changes that they face, and many are looking at restructuring.

What about jurisdictions?

With all the recent and continuing changes affecting the tax treatment of UK property, it would be great to see some stability in the UK real estate market – even if only in the number of taxes that affect it. For some UK investors, particularly in the residential market, we have noticed that some are now looking at selling their assets, and perhaps moving offshore.

What trends do you see in the global private wealth sector at the moment?

Transparency and disclosure are strong themes affecting the private wealth sector. The UK is leading the way through creating a public register for offshore companies owning UK property.

What do you feel are the main challenges facing your organisation at the moment, and how will you deal with them?

Keeping on top of constant changes to tax legislation, tax guidance and tax cases is a major challenge. This is where STEP helps in highlighting issues that might otherwise be missed.

Which social media channels do you use?

Twitter (@CarolineRFleet) and LinkedIn.

Caroline Fleet is a Partner at Gabelle in London. She is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, and for the last decade has specialised in advising clients, including developers and international investors, on real estate. Caroline chairs the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) London Property conference and is a member of the CIOT Stamp Taxes Practitioners Group.