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Regulars to our ‘five minutes with’ feature will know we usually reserve our chats for company CEOs, CFOs and alike. However, this time we thought we would introduce you to Caroline Walton, Claritas Tax’s latest recruit.

Caroline Walton

Caroline joined Claritas this week and brings with her a wealth of knowledge of innovation tax relief and the UK’s patent box regime. Here’s our brief chat with Caroline, as we delve a little deeper into her CV, her ambitions for her new role and what she likes to do away from work.

Caroline, thanks for chatting to us on your first day, welcome to the team.

If we could start by chatting about your impressive background, and the 19 years you spent as a solicitor in private practice. What brought you to tax and in particular R&D?

Back in 2017 I was at a crossroads in my legal career. I had specialised in one specific area of law for 19 years and I had a burning desire to do something different. I didn’t want to leave the legal profession entirely but was keen to move into a commercial law practice area. I was considering a number of different paths when someone recommended the role of R&D tax specialist to me.

This presented me with the opportunity to learn something new, whilst still being able to bring in a number of elements familiar to me from my private practice days. I needed to be able to interpret corporate tax legislation, as well as interviewing clients and drafting reports – all elements familiar to me from my time as a solicitor – it seemed like the balance I was looking for.

As this is still your first week with us, we’re keen to know what are you looking forward to most in your role and what attributes will you be bringing?

I’m very much looking forward to working with the team and helping to contribute to the growth of both the Manchester office and the wider business.
A large part of my legal and tax career has been spent growing and leading teams and I am looking forward to joining a business that has an ambitious outlook in terms of growth and its plans for expansion within the UK. Claritas has a team of talented tax practitioners and I am looking forward to getting to know everyone.

If you had chance, what two things would you tell your 15-year-old self now?

Wow, that’s a tough one, I have a 15-year-old son myself, so I am familiar with the types of discussions we have across the dinner table. I think the two main things would be:

  • Always consider the bigger picture, what is important to you at 15, won’t always be important to you in your twenties, thirties and beyond. When you consider your future occupation, choose something you are going to enjoy doing every day. Job satisfaction is really important to your wellbeing, both physically and mentally – it’s not just about how much money you earn.
  • Linked to my first point as soon as you start earning a wage, make sure you think about saving sufficiently for your pension – it’s an old cliché and probably not one you fully appreciate at 15. However, it is something you have to think about all too quickly as you get older. If left too late, it become harder and harder to rectify.

Final question Caroline, we’ve learnt a lot about you in work time, but if there’s anything the last 12 months has taught us, it’s also important to have a balance – what do you like to do at the weekends?

I love to spend as much of my free time as possible in the countryside. I consider myself to be very lucky to have grown up on a farm. I took for granted the fact that I was able to step out of my front door into fresh air on a daily basis.

I now live in a town and try to spend as much time in the countryside as I can when I’m not working. I have a horse and a pony that are stabled about fifteen minutes from where I live. I have been incredibly lucky this year to be able to get out of the house and spend time in the open air, looking after my horses. I think if I hadn’t been able to have done this, lockdown may have been a very different experience.

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