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Stereotypically, the word ‘tax’ has quite negative connotations as people receive their pay cheques and see how much is being taken off them; however tax as a career can be very rewarding both mentally and financially.
Tax is a constantly changing and evolving beast. As governments come and go, the whole election process usually focuses quite heavily on tax and being part of that system is surely an exciting thing. How much tax we pay and what they are going to do with it can win or lose the right to run the country. It is never out of the news and a source of much debate.

Salaries & benefits

Financially, it is a career that can be very lucrative. If you are at the top of your game, you can expect to earn seven figures as a partner in a ‘Big Four’ accountancy firm. Average partner salaries at the ‘Big Four’ range between £500,000 and £1 million. This means that the top salaries are higher than this as there are more senior levels of partner which can take you even higher. Mentally, because it is constantly evolving, you are always challenged and have to review your advice. Tax also requires some thinking outside-the-box; where you can take legislation and apply it theoretically moving forwards, making it much more of a creative industry than regulatory compliance orientated work. You can be client facing in professional services, or internally facing working solely for a company.
You can make or break companies with your advice – the savings you make for them could mean that they can build, invest, or create for a secure future. It is very much a people industry, as much as there are numbers to understand and legislation to work through. The secret is to be able to explain your work simply, in an digestable manner.
If you are still reading then maybe you are interested, in which case please consider this: even if the economy goes bad, people will still require tax advice (some would argue they need it even more so in hard times!) If the economy goes well, people will still require tax advice. It is a career that is as close to ‘recession proof’ as you can get and a necessity. How many careers can you say that about?

The jobs market

The market has been very busy for the last 18months with demand outstripping supply in a lot of key areas, such as international tax, reporting and FATCA specialists, non-domicile tax, expatriate tax, performance and reward, pensions and M&A.
The ‘Big Four’ and the top 20 accountancy practices have all been busy recruiting, but there are also a healthy number of specialist boutiques recruiting for graduate talent, as well as new firms starting up as a sign of confidence in the economy. On the in-house side, financial services have picked up a lot which is where a lot of reporting roles have appeared as well as markets such as Energy and Media.
Going forward we expect more of the same steady increase in demand for tax professionals, with new specialisms appearing as the economy changes and new policies take place.
If the saying is true, ‘nothing is certain in life except death and taxes’, then the safest jobs are either in tax or a funeral parlour. You choose!

Tax Salaries in London
Level Corp. tax VAT Transfer Pricing OPS tax Personal tax Human capital tax
Part qualified (0-2 years) £26,000-£36,00 £25,000-£34,000 £25,000-£34,000 £28,000-£35,000 £24,000-£35,000 £26,000-£36,000
Newly qualified (2-5 years) £38,000-£48,000 £37,000-£47,000 £37,000-£50,000 £37,000-£48,000 £37,000-£48,000 £38,000-£50,000
Manager (5-7 years) £50,000-£67,000 £50,000-£65,000 £50,000-£65,000 £48,000-£65,000 £48,000-£65,000 £52,000-£67,000
Senior Manager (7-10 years) £75,000-£115,000 £72,000-£110,000 £72,000-£115,000 £75,000-£105,000 £75,000-£105,000 £72,000-£110,000
Director (10+ years) £110,000-£180,000 £110,000-£180,000 £110,000-£180,000 £110,000-£180,000 £110,000-£180,000 £110,000-£180,000
Partner (15+ years) £150,000+ £150,000+ £150,000+ £150,000+ £150,000+ £150,000+


About the Author

  • Name: Ian Palmer

is an Associate Director of Audit and Taxation at Morgan McKinley.

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