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This time we’re speaking to another of Claritas’ new recruits, Cassandra Graham or Cass as she prefers to be called.

Cass joined Claritas at the beginning of August as Senior Manager within our Transactions Tax team and we spent some time getting to know more about her, what her role with Claritas will involve and how running the London Marathon and playing Korfball prepares you for life at Claritas.

Cass, welcome to Claritas, let’s start with you telling us a little bit about your Tax background:

I started my career in tax in a small Leeds tax advisory boutique practice after graduating with a history degree.  Why tax after history I hear you say?! In a nutshell I was going to train to be a solicitor post-university but diverted to tax advisory instead where there are more similarities with working in law than you think, we pretty much look at the legislation every day!

Having specialised in tax advisory from the outset, it makes my career in tax slightly unusual when compared to most as many begin in compliance and become more involved in advisory later. I then joined mid-tier and independent firms in the Midlands in tax advisory roles (latterly for a bolt-on tax advisory boutique to an independent firm) working predominantly in the Owner Managed Business (OMB) market. For those less familiar with the term Owner Managed Business it is effectively working with privately owned businesses, advising owners and their businesses on all taxes and their interaction. In the private business world where the business and owner are synonymous, I have always been involved with a wide range of projects considering all taxes advising both companies, shareholders, and high net worth individuals alike. I really enjoy the technical tax detail and the variety that working in this market brings. The best and most rewarding part is that our clients are the owners themselves and our advice makes a real difference to them.

I have also been a member of the Chartered Institute of Taxations Owner Managed Business committee since 2019. This is a useful forum for members to discuss topical technical and practical issues faced as well as legislation changes and consultations.

Being a member of this committee gives me insight and a voice in the event issues are identified and to consider any wider action to engage with HMRC and other bodies such as the Office for Tax Simplification or lobby the government where necessary.  It was this which led me to write a recent article for Tax Adviser magazine for this purpose –

We know it’s still your first month with Claritas, but can you tell us more about the role you will be doing and which of the many tax service lines you will be working within?

I have joined Claritas as a Senior Manager and given the nature of my previous experience I will predominantly work on transactions tax matters. However, due to the nature of transactions there is also some overlap with private client tax matters which I will get involved with. The best thing about working in these areas is that no two days are ever the same, there can also be a lot of overlap between the two areas especially when working on transactions with pre-transaction and post-transaction planning opportunities.

Impressively, you’ve previously run the London Marathon – what was that like as an experience and would you do it again?

I ran the London Marathon in 2018 which was the hottest one on record and gruelling as a result!

After training during the year of the ‘beast from the east’ all marathon runners in 2018 will never forget the experience. I’ve never been a long-distance runner – only the occasional 5km before that. I ran it to raise money for The National Eczema Society (a cause close to my heart as I’ve suffered from severe atopic eczema since birth) and managed to raise over £5k which was fantastic.

I aimed to complete it and ideally finish in five hours and cried tears of joy when I crossed the line in five hours 28 minutes given the heat. The crowds were amazing which carried me through, and the experience was one that I’ll never forget – it was definitely one of the best (and at times during the final 6.2 miles when I hit the wall, worst) days of my life. It is bar far the biggest challenge I have ever taken on and I would love to do it all over again and try to beat my time but finding time to train intensively is so difficult and requires a lot of dedication.

Finally Cass, tell us something about yourself that no one else knows…..

I can play a sport called Korfball – it is a Dutch mixed sport played by both men and women. Everyone always says it is a combination between netball and basketball but there are lots of other rules too and all players have to attack and defend. I started to play at university and carried on for a while when I left, I’d like to pick it back up again and join a local team, maybe even start a Claritas team!

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