Future of UK tax sector 'looks very bright'

Demand for qualified tax professionals is high as inbound multinationals continue to view investing in the UK in a very favourable light.

The latest UK Tax Market Review and Salary Survey underlines the positive sentiment in the industry at present, with all sectors recording significant increases in recruitment capacity since this time last year.

UK tax sector in ruddy health

The general market conditions of the tax sector are very positive, with salaries, bonuses and total remuneration all increasing over the last year.

For example, 85 per cent of overseas multinationals are planning to pay a bonus of more than ten per cent this year, while 100 per cent think salaries will rise in 2014-15. All high performers also received some kind of bonus.

Over the course of the next six to 12 months, 31 per cent of inbound multinationals expect their teams to grow, while the majority think their organisation's composition to be stable at worst.

A number of areas of specific expertise have been identified as in demand, including corporate tax compliance, tax reporting, strategy and tax planning and indirect tax. But the review has pointed out the expected rise in the number of transfer pricing roles has not materialised, with many senior tax professionals simply taking on this role alongside other responsibilities.

The biggest challenge has been identified as getting the best candidates as competition increases.

Multinationals are favouring the UK

Part of the reason for the growth is that the UK continues to be an attractive location for overseas multinationals looking to establish a European base. Indeed, evidence suggests the country is also being considered for global groups' HQ.

Earlier this year, PwC revealed it was speaking with more than 100 companies multinational firms as they looked to boost their footprint in the UK.

Financial secretary to the Treasury David Gauke said the country now tops the list of companies looking to increase their activity. He added this is quite remarkable as only a few years ago it "wasn’t even making the shortlist". Previously, multinationals may have focused on Ireland, the Netherlands and Switzerland due to their generous tax arrangements.

Tax avoidance clampdown

There has been an increased focus on base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) and tax transparency, both across the globe and by the UK government, which has accounted for the increase in the volume and complexity of work for inbound tax departments.

The OECD recently outlined plans designed to tackle global tax avoidance. According to the body, 44 countries have already backed the scheme and the Treasury has confirmed the UK is the first nation to commit to the new country-by-country reporting model.

Mr Gauke stated the UK has long been at the "forefront" of tackling international tax avoidance, and this fact should stand the country in good stead in the future.

UK Tax Market Report & Salary Survey 2014/15