Personal Tax

Our Personal Tax Services

Our private client tax team offer the full range of compliance and advice to individuals, trusts and businesses.

In the ever-changing tax environment we offer bespoke tax planning tailored to meet individual circumstances covering income tax, capital gains tax and inheritance tax.

We have recently published a factsheet focusing on the impending changes to residential property tax - download your copy here.

Click here to read our tax blogs.

How we can help you

The taxation of individuals in the UK is becoming increasingly complex, with greater responsibility being passed to individuals to understand their tax compliance obligations.  Our team is dedicated to assisting individuals with both tax reporting and advising on tax reliefs and opportunities. 

This includes:

  • all areas of self assessment
  • assisting with PAYE matters and status reviews
  • tax rules for the self employed; assisting with enquiries and investigations
  • residency matters (both arriving and leaving the UK) and tax treaties
  • capital gains tax and the applicable reliefs
  • inheritance tax reporting and planning

Fill out a Contact Form to get in touch with our team for a quote.

Partners in firms are taxed on their share of the profits of the firm for the tax year with each partner effectively taxed as if he was a self-employed business, with profits equal to his share of the profits of the firm.

So instead of tax being deducted from your earnings at source, you should be prepared to receive a bill at some time in the future. This can come as an unwelcome surprise if you have failed to put sufficient funds aside.

We will give you as much advance warning as possible of your likely amount and timing of tax payments due as part of our comprehensive advisory service.

Trusts can be used for a number of reasons including protecting assets, succession planning, providing maintenance and retaining flexibility. We can assist with all aspects of planning and reporting:

  • Tax implications of establishing a trust
  • Review of existing trusts and advice on making distributions
  • Capital Gains Tax planning
  • Annual trust accounts and tax returns
  • IHT reporting for trusts
  • Trust registration service requirements
  • Advice for beneficiaries
  • Offshore Trusts

Navigating and understanding the expansive tax rules in relation to employment taxes can prove problematic for many employers and with the number of HMRC enquiries increasing it has never been more important to get this right.

Our team can assist with all aspects of your compliance requirements as well as giving specific advice to fit the needs of the company, including:

  • Completion and submission of P11Ds to HMRC
  • All payroll services 
  • All HR services
  • Employment related securities (ERS) reporting requirements and equity incentives
  • Review of current treatment of all employment tax areas within the company
  • Advice on specific areas:

           - Car/ Van benefits

           - Accommodation provided to employees

           - Travel and subsistence – UK and overseas

           - Beneficial loans

           - Temporary workplaces

           - Salary sacrifice

           - Optional remuneration agreement

           - Employees coming to/leaving the UK

           - Construction industry scheme (CIS)

  • HMRC PAYE enquiries

Click here to find out about our Capital Allowances experience and to download our brochure.

Enterprise Management Incentives & other Share Schemes
Properly structured and implemented share schemes can significantly contribute to a performance of a company and increase shareholder value.  They are also an excellent means for a company to distinguish itself from the competition as an employer and assist in the attraction and retention of key employees.

Conversely, a poorly implemented incentive scheme can have the opposite effect.

Our team has considerable experience in advising on all forms of equity incentives including:

  • Approved and tax efficient option plans such as Enterprise Management Incentive options (EMI), Share Incentive Plans or Company Share Option Plans
  • Unapproved option plans - these are quite common but there is no particular tax advantage to an unapproved plan
  • Direct share rewards, including growth shares, forfeitable shares or long term incentive plans
  • Cash bonuses linked to increasing share values, such as phantom share options
  • The complex rules concerning employment related securities and remuneration provided via third parties

The more effective share incentives are those which are closely linked to a company’s short and mid term objectives and business plan.  EMI options are extremely flexible and options can be exercised, for example:

  • On the sale of a business or the company shares. This allows employees to share in the growth in the value of the company to which they have contributed without having to acquire any shares until the point of sale
  • Based on performance criteria which are pre set. Options can therefore only be exercised where, for example, a profit or turnover target is reached
  • Adopting multiple targets with options being exercisable on the attainment of each

EMI options are normally granted for no consideration, the employee only having to fund the purchase of shares at the point of exercise.

Generally, the value of a small minority shareholding is agreed with HMRC on a discounted basis at the point of grant of the option.  When the employee exercises his option, and pays the amount agreed with HMRC at the time of grant, there is no tax liability and the employee will only suffer capital gains tax when he sells his shares.

It is possible for employees to pay less than the value agreed with HMRC but there will be an income tax and possibly a NIC liability of the difference between the actual price paid and the market value at date of grant. 

On sale, capital gains tax could be at the 10% entrepreneurs relief rate provided that the period from the date of grant of the option to the sale of the share is at least one year.

Company share option plans are much more restrictive than EMI options but both can be targeted on specific employees rather than having to be open to the entire workforce. 

Share incentive plans have to be open to all of a company’s employees with limited exceptions.  They are however a means of incentivising the entire workforce with the number of shares being allocated to employees “on similar terms”.  This can be equally or based on relative salary levels or length of service. 

There is an advantage to an employee being able to acquire shares immediately, as he will be entitled to dividend payments by the company.  He will however have to pay for the shares or be subject to income tax if he pays a lesser amount, albeit that the value of the shares will be calculated on a discounted basis to reflect the value of a minority shareholding. 

HMRC do not disapprove of unapproved share schemes but approved arrangements offer significant tax advantages over an unapproved arrangement.

Click here to download our EIS and SEIS Comparison, which summarises the main requirements to qualify for the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) and the tax benefits for the individual investor.

Since March, we have been providing a lot of support to both businesses and individuals that have been affected by the Coronavirus. For further information please visit our Covid-19 Info Hub.

A tax investigation or HMRC enquiry into an individual's or company's affairs can be a very stressful and costly time for those involved.

Tax officials can open a variety of enquiries into a taxpayer’s affairs, ranging from general tax enquiries to in-depth fraud investigations. We assist our clients in navigating the HMRC enquiry process, however simple or complex, ensuring that they feel comfortable that they are being best represented. Typically we will manage this on their behalf, seeking to deal direct with HMRC and minimise disruption to our clients.

Our clients benefit from access to both a breadth and depth of tax technical knowledge and practical experience as a result of our multidisciplinary team containing experts in accounting, corporation tax, VAT, employment taxes, income tax, capital gains tax and inheritance tax.

We work closely with our clients to determine the key facts pertinent to the events under enquiry and help them to present their case clearly and concisely but with the utmost robustness. We will continually be considering our clients communications in order to mitigate penalties as best possible.

Our experience includes successfully taking enquiries through the Alternative Dispute Resolution process to First Tier Tribunal, where agreement with the enquiring inspector is not possible.

It is not unusual for us to act on behalf other accountants where the incumbent advisor may be at an impasse with HMRC or may lack the depth of expertise we have on hand.

French Duncan offer a Tax Investigations Service, which will cover you for our fees that result from you or your business being investigated by HMRC. Find out more here.

Case Studies & Testimonials


Click on any of our downloads below.

Meet some of our Private Tax Client team

John Cairns

John Cairns
0141 221 2984

John Cairns

John Cairns



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0141 221 2984

Specialisms include...

John trained with McLachlan & Brown before joining Price Waterhouse at the start of the 1980s as a tax senior. He moved to Arthur Andersen & Company in the same capacity two years later, before his appointment as a tax manager and, subsequently, tax partner at a constituent firm of Scott Moncrieff, where he remained for some 21 years. John was appointed head of tax in Scotland for BDO in 2006, joining French Duncan as a partner in 2014.

He specialises in advising owner-managed businesses and their owners on a wide range of tax matters, including: acquisitions and sales; reorganisations; share valuations; succession planning; shares schemes; tax efficient investments and inheritance tax planning. John has also advised charitable and not-for-profit organisations and has prepared expert witness reports covering a range of issues.

He has established a reputation amongst his clients as a tax expert who can make often complex matters readily understandable to the benefit of themselves and their businesses.

Hazel  Burt

Hazel Burt
Partner and Head of Personal Tax
01786 451745

Hazel  Burt

Hazel Burt

Partner and Head of Personal Tax


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01786 451745

Specialisms include...


Hazel began her training as an Accountant in 1992 and joined French Duncan in 2012 when they merged with Macfarlane Gray. She has specialised in tax for more than 20 years and heads up the personal tax compliance and consultancy team, managing a varied client base of businesses and private clients.

Hazel has previously served as the Scottish President of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants for two years and is currently a member of the Scottish committee.

Hazel’s specialisms include capital taxes planning, personal tax planning including residence matters, advising owner-managed businesses, tax investigations and property taxation. She has particular interest in the construction and agricultural sectors.

Hazel was brought up in a family business and has a deep understanding of the issues surrounding owner-managed firms. She draws on this background when advising on commercial and tax matters.

Stephen  Oates

Stephen Oates
Tax Director
0131 225 6366

Stephen  Oates

Stephen Oates

Tax Director

BSc(Hons) CTA

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0131 225 6366

Specialisms include...

Stephen began his career working for a short time at HM Revenue & Customs as an Administrative Officer before joining an independent CA practice as a tax assistant dealing with all tax compliance issues and identifying tax planning opportunities. Three years later, he was appointed as tax manager to a mid-tier accountancy practice, where he remained for six years, before joining French Duncan in 2015 in the same role.

Stephen has gained extensive experience of working for both personal and corporate tax clients which helps him give more comprehensive tax advice. Stephen has gained exposure throughout his career to all aspects of Employment taxes and has added to this expertise through completing numerous Employment tax review and due diligence reports. Stephen has also been heavily involved with giving advice, both technical and compliance based, on all aspects of employment related securities which covers both tax advantaged scheme such as EMI, SIP, CSOP and non-tax advantages schemes.

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