Home  →  Team   →   Helen Channer

What do you do?

I help business understand their VAT and stamp tax obligations.  Whether this be help with their day to day compliance (the “business-as-usual” stuff), or advice on the “outside-the-norm” stuff which relates to the unusual, high value, one-off transactions… I do it all! 

I have a particular interest in the property and education sectors, and for most of my career, I have leaned towards clients in these industries. Many VAT advisers hate these sectors, particularly property as the relevant parts of the VAT legislation could be said to be a work of art rather than science…. but for me, it’s my bread and butter!  

Why do you do it?

Because I love a good puzzle!  I am a details person, and love nothing more than getting into the depths of a tax conundrum and being satisfied at the end that I’ve covered every angle.   

I’ll be completely honest – I had zero intention of becoming a tax adviser!  I was allocated to spend 6 months in tax at the beginning of my training contract with a law firm, and when I was initially told the news by HR, my heart sank! I genuinely thought I would be bored the whole time and would be counting the days until I could move on to a more interesting area of law…. Little did I know I’d still be doing it (and loving it!) over 10 years later! 

What kind of projects have you been involved in?

One of my favourite clients and projects was for a university who were constructing a £50m student accommodation village, hotel and conferencing centre.  Over a period of 18 months, I worked closely with the tax manager at the university, their HMRC customer relationship manager and various other stakeholders to analyse, design and agree the appropriate VAT profile for the project.  It was a hugely moving feast, and not everything went right the first time, but we eventually got HMRC agreement on everything, giving the client budget certainty in knowing exactly how much the build should cost, as well as peace of mind their VAT compliance for the project was spot on. 

What’s on top of your bucket list?

Take my daughter to Disneyland Florida – I went when I was 12 and absolutely loved it but I was a bit old for the “magic” of Mickey Mouse.  I would love to take my daughter while she is young enough to get caught up in the glitter and sparkles! 

Watch the Last Night of the Proms from the Royal Albert Hall – only the small problem of tickets being a couple of grand and with a waiting list of a few years to overcome! 

helench@cooperparry.com

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