A Day in the Life of a Personal Tax Assistant

1-2 minutes

Are you looking for expert advice and insights from a Personal Tax Assistant? In our new feature blog, we caught up with a professional in the tax industry to discover their responsibilities, top tips and plans for the future.

In less than 2 years, this Personal Tax Assistant has worked hard to become an expert in his field. From humble beginnings as an apprentice in 2021, to currently studying for the AAT Level 4, this individual has gone above and beyond to learn everything he can about tax all before the age of 25! He has overcome age disparity, changes in the industry and the pressures that come with the busy tax season.

Throughout this interview, you will get an inside look into the routine and responsibilities of a Personal Tax Assistant with a professional in the industry.

Tell us about your career journey so far

I started working in Tax in October 2021 for a top 10 firm in the UK. I am currently a more senior tax processor which allows me to complete more complex work and communicate with higher net worth individuals.

I am to finish my AAT Level 4 in the first 6 months of 2024 and I will then go on to start my chartered tax exams along with my ACCA. At this point in my career, I am starting to look at basic tax planning around inheritance and disposing of businesses.

What does a typical day look like for you?

My day starts at 6:30am when I wake up to walk my dog. We are usually out for around 45 minutes. This is a good start to the day for me and helps me relax before a day's work.

I then go home and get ready for work.

Once I have had my breakfast, I like to check my emails on my phone to prevent any surprises when I arrive at work. I always do this with a cup of tea!

I then start to look at the list of tax returns I have outstanding and ensure the notes I have are accurate. I like to check if I need to phone HMRC as it is best to do this in the early morning as I find this reduces long waiting times.

I then like to start a tax return. To do this, first of all I open the client file and the prior year return. This allows me to compare the information we had last year. It also allows me to check I am not contacting a client without reason.

I start to process the return, by entering all data in order that the client has provided me with. Whilst I am doing this I use software to call one note to group information so it is easier for the director to review.

What does your job consist of?

My job consists of processing large pieces of information with varying difficulty. I work closely with five people; three of which are directors. Two of my colleagues are equal to me but because of the new computer system they have put into place I have to work with them closely to ensure they are happy and confident in what data they are entering into the system.

What would you consider the most important task of the day to be?

Ensuring clients understand the reasons they have to pay tax and the way they can legally minimise it. 

What kind of clients do you work with on a regular basis?

I work with individuals who hold a few investments to millionaires who have sold businesses.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

The most challenging part of the job is when you have requested information multiple times and get ignored. This is frustrating as clients often do this with a tax return within a couple of working days.

How do you keep up to date with changes in the industry?

We go on training once a month to stay up-to-date and are provided with the most up to date court cases for complex tax issues. We are also actively encouraged to understand our work rather than just producing a set of figures.

What is the best thing about working as a Tax Assistant in an accounting environment and what do you enjoy most about the role?

The most rewarding part is advising hard working people who have built wealth. It is also rewarding helping individuals who simply struggle with technology. I enjoy helping genuinely hard working people who have made their way in the world. I find them to be inspiring.

What have you learned so far in your career?

I have noticed that certain individuals are more organised than others and that the more organised people tend to be the ones who are easier to communicate with. I have also noticed that when people do not like the amount of tax they have to pay, they feel I have a say! They struggle to understand that I simply apply the legalisation.

What would you say has been your biggest achievement?

My biggest achievement so far has been my AAT exam results so far and the way I act above my age both personally and professionally. 

What obstacles have you had to face in your career?

My age is a barrier as more often than not clients are my elders by a fair number of years. This is something which can be challenging as I feel sometimes clients try to undermine my work simply because I am under 25.

I would also say it is a challenge not being from a privileged area as sometimes it is difficult to relate to the day to day lives of high networth individuals. This is something I have adjusted to and now understand they just want to be treated like a normal person.

How have things changed or progressed in the industry?

The industry is changing all the time from what clients expect to the rules that need to be applied. I think the thing that needs to improve the most is the way firms such as mine request information and the lack of access we have to read only.

I would also say the way HMRC communicates with taxpayers and agents is really poor considering the world we are in. 

Who are some of your role models?

My dad, mum and grandad are the strongest people I know. As individuals and together, they have overcome so much. I would also say they have taught me how to be an adult and that the world is not always black and white. My dad in particular inspires me as many times I have seen him put his own needs below everyone else’s. 

With tax season fast approaching, how do you deal with stress or the pressures of your job?

Remain organised and just stay calm. It is also important to celebrate the small victories and make the client aware of their responsibilities. My next step is to take out my energy or frustration by playing on the Xbox or going to the gym and using a boxing bag.

Do you have any tips or advice for someone new or up and coming in the industry?

Pay attention to detail and learn the basics. Once you and your employer are comfortable with the basics, ask questions, observe and do not be afraid to get things wrong. If you do get something wrong make sure you take a note and don’t make the same mistake twice.

My final piece of advice would be to try to find common ground with clients. This makes it easier to extract the information you need.

What are your plans for the future? Where do you hope to progress to?

I am going to finish my level 4 AAT and go on to do my ACCA combined with AAT. I want to progress to a Personal Tax Manager and with this I want to take on my advisory work, in particular work which involves passing on wealth whilst people are still alive so they can see their family enjoy the money. 

Tax Assistant jobs

If this sounds like the career for you and you’re searching for your dream Tax Assistant job, why not take a look at our latest vacancies? Or why not upload your CV and we will contact you whenever a relevant opportunity becomes available. 

Interested to know how to find an accounting job or how to get a job in finance? Check out our Accountancy & Finance Career Hub for more insightful content such as 7 tips for thriving and surviving during tax season.

If you found this interview with a Personal Tax Assistant useful, discover even more insights into the tax industry in this a day in the life interview with a Private Client Tax Senior.

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