Personal Tax Partner Claire Charlton goes under the spotlight!

What is your role within RG?

I am head of the Personal Tax service line; assisted by my excellent team of 12 tax professionals, we deal with all aspects of compliance and advisory work relating to individuals, trusts and deceased estates.

Tell me about your career to date…

I am a “lifer”, having joined RG as soon as I graduated back in 1991. After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant, I then went on to take the Chartered Institute of Taxation qualification and later added membership of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners to the certificate collection. I am privileged in that our broad client base has enabled me to get involved in a huge variety of interesting work; I can honestly say that there has never been a dull moment nor two days the same in the last 28 years.

What does your current role involve?

I have overall responsibility for making sure that we complete 2,800 personal, partnership and trust tax returns by the 31 January deadline every year, so part of my time is spent managing this aspect of our work. As the end of January approaches, this can feel like a complex juggling act, ensuring that resources are deployed efficiently so that we get the job done.

Alongside this, I have over 500 clients of my own who require advice from time to time on all kinds of tax matters such as the consequences of selling or giving away a property, setting up a trust or looking at family succession. Often there is much more than tax at stake and it is important to take the time to understand the family’s objectives and emotional investment.

I also assist and work closely with other professional advisers such as solicitors and land agents to ensure that our mutual clients receive holistic, joined-up advice.

What makes RG different?

We act for a huge range of clients which means that we are very experienced and flexible. Advice needs to be delivered in a way that a specific client will understand, so we adapt our style to suit the situation.

Firmwide, there is a real emphasis on education and training; continuing study is encouraged and financially supported so that everyone in the firm can achieve their maximum potential.

As an employer, I believe RG is a lively and collaborative environment in which we can all make our best possible contribution.

My 3 most notable achievements to date would be….

From a career point of view, being the first female to be appointed to the partnership is something of which I am very proud.

Outside of the office, I have completed some of the world’s most famous long distance footpaths including the Inca Trail in Peru and the Haute Route through the Alps, although there were moments on both when I wondered how much it would cost to send for a helicopter!

Finally, passing the audition for the Newcastle Bach Choir of which I have been a member for 12 years.

Tell me about your day so far….

6.30am – gym session (I am definitely a “morning” person!)

8am – review the professional press over breakfast; the world of tax is constantly changing, so I need to keep up to date.

9am – catch up with senior members of my team to discuss cases we are working on and to share best practice

10am – assisting a client who has moved overseas to understand the complex rules around securing non-UK tax residence status

11am – meeting with clients over coffee to discuss inheritance tax planning and how to pass wealth to their children in a tax-efficient way

1pm – deliver an internal training session on the use of trusts in tax planning

2pm – telephone call with the son of a deceased client to help him bring financial and tax matters up to date

3pm – review documents and archives for a family who have recently instructed us in order to obtain a thorough understanding of the history of their affairs. Appreciating the connections and background to previous transactions will form the foundation for providing the family with sound advice in the future.

4pm – review the day’s work completed by my team before it is despatched and prepare for a Trustees’ meeting tomorrow

5pm – email my solicitor contacts to alert them to a change in tax legislation which might affect their clients

6pm – review applications and CVs for our graduate recruitment programme. There are some really talented young people out there and we want to recruit the best candidates to join our team.

What do you enjoy outside of work?

Walking (see above!), cycling and generally being outdoors & active, all the better if I am able to combine it with camping in my beloved VW campervan.

Singing with Newcastle Bach Choir, performing in concerts locally and sometimes further afield in beautiful locations such as Winchester Cathedral and Alnwick Garden.

I am a member of two book groups, so usually have a least one book on the go!

And finally, leave us with one interesting fact about yourself…

I have performed on stage at The Sage (admittedly not on my own!)

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