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We usually reserve our ‘Five minutes with’ slots for chats with company CEO’s, CFO’s and alike. However, this time we’re doing things a little differently and taking some time to speak to Dr Sam Hart, Claritas Tax’s latest recruit.

For those of you who don’t know Sam, it would probably help if we gave you an overview of who she is and her career background to date. Well, Sam joins Claritas today – Thursday 1 October – having built up a hugely impressive CV. With a PhD from the University of Birmingham on Attitudes to Tax Avoidance in the UK, as well as a Master of Arts in writing and a post-graduate certificate in Higher Education Teaching, she is more than qualified to give us her opinions on the taxation landscape.

Based in the West Midlands, Sutton Coldfield to be exact, Sam has over 20 years’ experience in Private Client tax, specialising in capital taxes and trusts. She began her career with Deloitte where she stayed for seven years before moving to take up roles at Grant Thornton, Collins Hart and Cleaver Cook LLP.

Sam’s work doesn’t just stop there; she also currently sits on the editorial board of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) journal and is a regular contributor with several articles published in the trade press.  She has also been heavily involved with a number of professional bodies in previous years, namely the CIOT and as an examiner for STEP.

Thanks, Sam, for taking the time out of your first day to join us. I’m sure our readers will agree that is a mightily impressive CV and one we want to delve a little deeper into if we may?

One question we are famous for asking all our colleagues who work at Claritas, is Why Claritas?

That’s a great question, but fortunately one that is easy to answer. Claritas is built on great relationships, inside and out, which is why so many of my new colleagues have been with the firm so long. Claritas’ philosophy of getting to know clients, their families and their businesses was what attracted me to the firm and I am looking forward to developing those connections with clients and contacts.

Additionally, joining Claritas gives me the opportunity to work alongside Iain Wright whose excellent reputation in the Midlands precedes him, as well as supporting the growth of Claritas’ Manchester office with Matt Hodgson and the team based in the North.

Finally, given the complexity and rapidly changing nature of the UK tax system, I am looking forward to joining a team of specialist tax advisers, where we can all focus on providing tailored advice and expertise to our lucky clients!

Again, without sounding like a job interview, what attributes will you be bringing to your new role?

One great quality I am bringing to Claritas is my love of the technical detail of tax. While most people think tax is all about the numbers- and in practical terms for client’s pockets, ultimately that is true- much of what I do involves interrogation of the tax law that makes up our tax system. This then ensures clients pay the right amount of tax at the right time, and that they are then able to plan their financial lives effectively around their tax obligations.

I also think my enthusiasm helps when working in what is traditionally perceived as a very dry area. Whether that’s my excitement waiting to hear the bombshells drop in a Budget, or simply writing Agatha Christie themed articles on technical tax subjects, tax is actually fun!

Perhaps I’m overselling it, but tax is something about which most people need to have at least a grasp in order to plan their lives (tax) effectively. I am passionate about being able to engage others in conversations about tax, and in being able to translate tricky tax transactions into plain English, both in writing and by delivering seminars (or webinars these days).

I do like to chat, so am always happy to be found making connections with clients and contacts, as well as working collaboratively within practice. While my networking activities are necessarily more socially distanced at the moment, I am looking forward to things getting a little more back to normal so I can get to know more people in my new role at Claritas.

So we guess the technical side of the role and the writing that accompanies it are your favourite parts of your role. Dare we ask what elements of the role you don’t enjoy?

The role has changed so much since I first started in tax so many years ago, and I have seen my fair share of different forms, assessments, and online reporting systems. While many of the legislative and technological advances have been welcome, with increased regulation comes greater reporting responsibility. Helping clients navigate the FATCA rules and the new Fifth anti-money laundering directive rules for trust registration is an important, but less exciting part of the job!

Right, well we’ve learnt a lot about Sam at work, let’s learn some more about what you like to do at the weekend, when form filling is a thing of the past.

As a self-confessed tax geek, I ought to spend most of my weekends reading tax legislation for fun, but in reality I spend my weekends with my extended family, which includes two teenage children, as well as my 97-year-old Gran, and my Dad’s brood of chickens. Although not necessarily all at the same time.

I also try and keep as active as possible, and currently play for Aston Old Edwardians RFC, which is one of the oldest established rugby clubs dating back to 1889. Our ladies team managed to gain promotion last season, despite a premature close owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, so we are looking forward to the new challenge of a higher league. It’s a little like the new challenge I am facing at Claritas, but hopefully providing tax advice will leave me with fewer bruises!


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