The LCN Tax Interview: Andy Hewitt

We are delighted to feature an interview with Andy Hewitt, Head of Tax of the online fashion and beauty retailer ASOS.com.

Why did you get into tax?
Largely accidentally. I was working as a temp in a bank and my contract was coming to an end, I saw an advert to join the Inland Revenue’s Fast Stream programme and it all stemmed from there.

Who has been the most influential role model for your professional life?
I don’t think I could point to a single person. I’ve worked with and for a large range of people in my career and I’ve tried to learn something from all of them.

What do you see as the biggest trend affecting the tax world over the next 10 years?
I think there’ll be two things, the immediate post-BEPS world will see a rise in the number of disputes as new legislation is enacted and new terminology is defined by the courts. In the longer term the biggest single thing will be the a huge increase in the amount of information and data that will be available to tax authorities and the tax authorities ability to extract and analyse that data to better target audits and enquiries. The Australian Tax Office are already working on a project to understand how they can better analyse data and don’t think the rest of the tax world will be far behind. There is a slight irony that the biggest perceived fear in the tax world is the ability of the tax world to deal with the digital economy and yet the same digital economy will provide tax authorities with some of the most powerful tools they have ever had.

What is your pet hate when dealing with advisers?
Unresponsiveness.

In a movie of your life story, which actor would you like to play you?
For a movie about a life in tax to work the I think you’ve got to try and find ways of making the mundane entertaining and have an element of the surreal. So bearing that it mind I’d have to say Vic Reeves. (Although if there’s not a picture of me accompanying this then Brad Pitt.)

What would be your dream job if you didn’t work in tax?
I always wanted to work in radio. I can’t think of a better life than playing all the tunes love and chatting about whatever comes to mind in between.

What is your biggest extravagance?
Generally it’s the children but since I started working at ASOS my clothing budget’s definitely gone up.

What do you do to relax?
I got a drum kit for Christmas so I’m trying to master that at the moment.

What is your favourite holiday destination?
We’re lucky enough to have a house in South-west France so we tend to go there most of the time. The kids love it and its just incredibly relaxing.

What piece of advice would you give your 25-year-old self?
Be brave and have the courage of your convictions.

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