A Q&A with Tax Manager in the Farms and Estates team, Pip Cusack
What is it like being a tax adviser in the agricultural sector right now?
The agricultural industry is so diverse and that’s one of the most exciting parts of working in it; it is ever-changing and we’re constantly working with clients to adapt to the landscape (pun intended!).
There are challenges anticipated ahead, with changing tax rates in some shape or form, but we don’t know what is coming or when; two Budgets have been and gone where we expected increases of some sort but, with the exception of changes in the rate of tax for dividends, corporation tax and NIC, nothing much has materialised. This makes our role so much more challenging when we’re working with clients to consider their main priorities and implement solutions that will put them in the best position for the future.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I can’t imagine I would have been saying this 12 months ago, but I really enjoy inheritance tax planning. It can often be a topic of taboo, no one really likes to speak about what happens when they are no longer here, but I see it as an essential part of farming life, family businesses and looking after the assets people have worked hard for.
When we are involved from an early stage, we can discuss the family’s wishes for succession and help strike a balance between ideal wishes and a tax efficient solution.
My key piece of advice would be for people to talk about succession and inheritance with family, accountants and solicitors – all parties involved – no matter how hard it is, it will be worth it in the long run.
Why do you work in the agricultural sector?
I’m not from an agricultural background, which is unusual in our team, but I have a great interest in rural businesses.
After leaving school, I went to the Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester, with no thought of what my future career might be. Although I enjoyed the practical elements of our course, I actually found figures incredibly interesting and that I was more drawn to this. When I left university, I was lucky enough to secure a training contract with a firm of accountants with an agricultural team.
For me, tax planning is about looking forward; you need a problem-solving mind, and it is where I feel I can really make a difference to our clients’ future plans for their business. So, having qualified das a chartered accountant in September 2017, I turned my focus to tax and qualified das a chartered tax adviser in January 2021.
Tell us something that we might not know about you?
I white water kayak in my spare time; I follow the weather as much as our farming clients do so that I can find out when, and where it is going to rain and I then head in that direction! As long as there is rain and hills – Yorkshire, Wales, Lake District, Dartmoor etc. – I’ll be happy.
If you would like more information on inheritance tax planning or tax advice, please get in touch with Pip Cusack at email@example.com or 01242 680000.