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Focus on, Gordon Thrower, Senior Employment Tax Manager at MHA MacIntyre Hudson

Gordon joined MHA MacIntyre Hudson in 2017 and works as a Senior Employment Tax Manager. Starting his tax career with HMRC spending 8 years as part of a special investigation unit before moving across the divide to PwC in 1997. Gordon gives us some valuable insights into his career in Tax.


Gordon, could you give a brief synopsis of your career?

I fell into taxation after being made redundant after nine years in banking. Eight years with what we then called the Inland Revenue in Employer Compliance followed before I moved into practice, first with PwC then with Mazars. Another redundancy at Mazars saw me move into industry as a sort of “troubleshooter for hire”, with a number of fixed-term contract roles.


You left Practice to go to Industry, what were the drivers to come back?

Whilst I enjoyed Industry, a lack of permanent roles meant that I continually had to keep one eye on the next contract, I was always looking for a bit of stability. Chris Blundell had been my partner at Mazars and we’d kept in touch, so when he needed someone to come in to the team at MHA MacIntyre Hudson just as a contract was coming to an end it was perfect timing all round.   


How does Practice compare to industry?

Working on a contract basis it was interesting to see how different sectors had different attitudes to compliance. In industry I sometimes found that Financial Controllers had the impression that I had been hired to show them how to “get around” tax law! It wasn’t as big a culture shock to return to Practice as it might have been had I had to break in a new partner! Oh, and the aircon seems to work better in Industry!


What has been the proudest moment of your career to date?

There have been a number of results I have got for clients over the years where I’ve stood back and said: “yeah, you did well there, mate!”. These usually involved complex technical arguments which is the sort of thing that is bread and butter for an annoying pedant like me!

Also, for various reasons I’d never gotten around to doing my tax exams until something like 2008. My Mum insisted we went to the graduation ceremony at the House of Lords to see me get a second copy of the certificate. I gave that copy to my parents as a thank you for all their support over the years – though I still cringe a bit when I go to visit them and I see it framed and on display in the hall!


How big is your team and if someone was looking to join the Human Capital Advisory team at MHA MacIntyre Hudson, what advice would you give them?

We have 12 on the team with more coming on board in the near future. This is spread across Employment Taxes, Share Schemes, Global Mobility, Immigration Services and Human Resources. We’re a friendly lot on the team and anyone used to working in a strict hierarchical regime might be a bit surprised as to the way the team is structured – particularly on the tax side of things where “upwards delegation” happens quite a lot!. So my advice would be “don’t expect anything to be routine!”


What challenges you professionally?

Keeping track of changing legislation can be a challenge. Even when the law itself remains unchanged, HMRC’s interpretation of it can alter so you need to be alert.


What advice would you give to your younger self?

My younger self probably wouldn’t pay much attention to me! In retrospect I might have made the jump from Inland Revenue into practice a year or two sooner but overall, I would just tell myself to look after myself!


What energises you?

Although my move into tax in 1989 wasn’t part of any grand career plan I have come to find taxation genuinely interesting – which looks a bit sad now I write that down! One of my old school reports mentioned my like of arguing with authority – so in some respects I’m in the perfect job!     


What is the highlight of your working week?

No two weeks are alike so it’s difficult to pick out a weekly highlight. However, it’s always good to see   intensive pieces of research into the more obscure reaches of legislation bearing fruit when trying to formulate an argument. I have been known to punch the air at such moments! 


Finally, Gordon, what is the most exciting thing from your perspective, happening in Tax right now?

From an Employment Tax viewpoint, the changes in the legislation to intermediaries is quite the thing at the moment. From a wider perspective, in the longer term the march towards the greater use of IT in the form of Making Tax Digital is going to transform everything.

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If you can't see a vacancy that suits your current needs or aspirations, please contact us speculatively by emailing: Leanne.burley@mhllp.co.uk or contact our London office at 020 7429 4100