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A taxing question….

Do you know whether tax is payable on either or both of the below – and why?  It all comes down to a point of law.  We pay tax on chocolate-covered biscuits, but not on chocolate-covered cakes apparently.  So, the poor old chocolate hobnob is deemed taxable whereas the jaffa cake is let off.  Why?  Because a jaffa cake is technically a cake and not a biscuit.  After great legal debate, the jaffa cake was eventually confirmed as a cake because, as any baker will tell you, cakes go hard when stale whereas biscuits go soft.  Try it and see – a jaffa cake will go hard when left out of a tin for too long.

Jaffa Cakes NEW    Hobnob NEW

If you are interested in debates like the above and have a talent for problem-solving and well-honed analytical skills, then tax could be for you.  You would also need to enjoy working with numbers and words, building strong professional relationships with private or corporate clients and constantly keeping up-to-date with changes in the law.

The really good news is that there is a shortage of students out there applying for roles in tax.  Every year firms tell us that they are struggling to fill vacancies.    Tax specialists work in a range of employers, from accountancy firms, specialist tax practices, HM Inland Revenue and Customs, in-house for larger companies and organisations, law firms, banks – and many more. You could start by helping complete tax returns and move into consultancy work, gaining highly-regarded professional qualifications along the way.  Pay, as you might expect for a skilled professional, is rewarding.

Mark, a tax specialist, says: “Tax sounds quite dry, but it needn’t be (and isn’t) all about dry calculations.  It gives you an opportunity to be involved in a challenging area that’s always evolving and to use your skills to help individuals navigate important events in their lives, and to be involved with helping businesses make key commercial decisions.”

Interested to know more?  Then come along to the Graduate Recruitment and Placements Fair this Wednesday 27 April in the Forum from 11.00 – 15.00 and speak to SimplTax (www.simpletaxreturns.com) who have graduate roles and summer internships on offer.

And read more about tax here:


and here:


Mary Baldwin is the Careers Adviser for the School of Education.

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