60-second interview with Dawn Register

Dawn Register, 11/3/2019

Dawn Register TEP is a Tax Dispute Resolution Partner at BDO in London.

What does your firm or organisation do?

BDO is a global accountancy and advisory business. We are part of an international network covering 162 countries, with 1,591 offices throughout the world and over 80,000 employees.

What has STEP done for you?

For me personally, STEP has opened up a huge network of contacts both in the UK and internationally. This has led to mutual business opportunities, knowledge-sharing and friendships.

What is the most important thing STEP does, in your opinion?

STEP creates communities. These include professional communities in different locations and with different special interests. Community is incredibly important for development of knowledge, commentary on important issues and developing junior members in their careers. I have attended STEP meetings in many locations globally, and find people are always passionate about their work and dedicated to sharing.

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

I will be speaking on the latest news and issues in dealing with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). Clearly dealing with the UK tax authorities is an important aspect of a practitioner’s role. For clients it can be a headache! It is helpful for advisors to be aware of the latest campaigns by HMRC, including its powers and new case law. My experience is that most people underestimate the amount of information that HMRC now holds, as well as how it is used in practice.

What do you most like about your job?

I have a strange business in that most people I deal with are incredibly thankful for my help in resolving a problem with HMRC. However they then never want to see me again! This means my work is incredibly varied and challenging. I enjoy the human interaction with both taxpayers and HMRC. In particular I enjoy the genuine relief for everybody when a resolution to a long-running dispute is reached.

.. and what do you feel is most worthwhile?

I monitor changes in tax law in tax administration, powers and HMRC procedures, especially around enquiries and disclosures. It is important for me to contribute to those policy changes where I’m consulted, and I always aim to make tax easier, fairer and more understandable wherever possible.

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

For a young person thinking of a tax career, digitalisation will be huge. They will need flexible skills, and to remember the power of face-to-face communication.

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

In terms of trends, the drive for tax transparency continues. We are now going to see global data, which has never previously been available, being used by tax authorities. This will be challenging for many global businesses and internationally-mobile families. Clearly we support the use of this data to catch tax evaders. The concern is that it will also lead to questions and intrusion for those people who are fully tax-compliant.

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

The challenge facing most accountancy businesses and practitioners is the pace of change and keeping abreast of those changes to give accurate advice. Increasingly specialist tax or niche advisors are needed; a classic example being tax dispute resolution. Previously many people could handle a tax enquiry or disclosure. However in recent years the powers, procedures, penalties and practices used by HMRC have changed beyond recognition, and continue to change more frequently than ever before.

Which social media channels do you use?

I blog on www.bdo.co.uk and am a regular contributor to LinkedIn.

Dawn Register TEP is a Tax Dispute Resolution Partner at BDO in London. She is a Chartered Tax Advisor, and Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) Accredited Mediator. She manages complex tax return enquiries, voluntary disclosures and investigations conducted by HMRC. She specialises in personal and international tax issues, including offshore trusts, property, residency and domicile. Dawn writes for the STEP journal on tax administration and interactions with tax authorities. She has presented at STEP conferences and local meetings in the UK, Switzerland, Monaco and the Bahamas.