At dinner, the legendary Muhammad Ali once told one of Craig Hughes’ clients that ‘the greatest thing you can give to others is your time, as this is the one thing that nobody else can give.’ It’s a quote that the Menzies partner has become fond of using himself, he says, even if it does occasionally elicit good-natured sighs from his colleagues.
Hughes spent more than a decade working within the Big Four accountancy firms before joining Menzies, where he is now the lead partner for offshore tax services.
With an HNW client base that includes entrepreneurs, international performers, sports stars and corporate executives, he offers tax solutions to family offices, international clients, non-doms and offshore trustees, and specialises in advising non-doms with UK tax planning, and exit planning for those wanting to break UK residency.
Hughes says that tax advisors are hugely important in these times of ever-changing tax legislation and economic uncertainty, despite the amount of tax planning information available online.
‘There is a lot of information about taxation available on the internet, such that clients and prospective clients have the opportunity to research and become familiar with tax concepts,’ he says. ‘However, there is a big difference between information and advice’.
‘We have many cases where new clients have tried to act alone, based on information they have found online. But, sadly, they apply and implement that information incorrectly.’
He adds that the offshore tax industry is misunderstood by the general public, who view it as ‘murky’ and ‘illegitimate’.
‘It is unfair to tar the entire offshore industry because of a few high-profile cases covered by the press,’ he says.
Why did Hughes get into the offshore tax industry? ‘I find it intriguing that money genuinely does not buy happiness,’ he answers. ‘Appropriate planning and certainty over the future helps to contribute to a more stable – if not happier – future.’
One client, who received Hughes’ advice on establishing a trust and applying for residency in Jersey, was full of praise for the tax partner whose advice made the process a ‘painless exercise’. Another described him as the ‘ultimate professional’.