Gravita is made up of so many talented individuals. It’s their talent and knowledge that makes us who we are. It’s why we want to showcase those who work here, so you can get to know the people behind the expertise.
In this post, we meet Victor Dauppe, an incredibly talented, articulate and charismatic chartered accountant and Tax Partner at Gravita.
With an amazing 44 years of experience in direct and indirect personal and corporate taxes, it’s safe to say, he’s helped hundreds of companies and individuals during his time here. He’s a true bank of knowledge and even published some of this invaluable information when he co-authored his first book, “Intellectual Property Law and Taxation”. If that’s not all, alongside his day-to-day work, he’s also the Vice-Chair of the CIOT Owner Managed Business committee and sits on the CIOT’s Corporation Tax committee.
Victor has also been listed in the 2023 Spears Tax Index under Recommended Accountants and Tax Advisers for the sixth year running. This is an amazing achievement – and no mean feat. We chatted with Victor about his career and what he plans to do next.
Do you have a favourite client story?
Yes, I was acting for a hotel company which was having a new hotel built in London. The question arose as to the treatment of a particular employee who we did not recognise. It transpired she was a nanny for the child of one of the directors. But when asked why her employment cost was not a benefit in kind for the director, we were told that she carried out the important function of providing hot soup for the construction workers – which was clearly a cost attributable to the company’s activities! On being pressed as to how she delivered this soup, we were amazed to learn that it was delivered in thermos flasks, stored in the tray under the pram and delivered on her morning constitutional with the baby as she perambulated past the building site.
Why did you become a tax expert, was it always your dream/ambition?
Two years after qualifying as a chartered accountant in 1977, I rose to the position of Audit Manager and as part of my post qualifying training, I went with a partner of the firm to a tax seminar. I was so excited by the content that, in the tea interval, I rushed up to the presenter, (the well-known Nigel Eastaway), and asked whether I could please train in tax with his firm. Unfortunately, he was still wearing his microphone and my conversation was heard throughout the room and the Partner was not impressed. I gave in my notice and started with the new firm a few weeks later with a 40% drop in salary as a tax junior.
What drives you to be so passionate about tax?
I like systems and seeing how they work. I like the complexity and the application of legal principles. I like problem solving and the accumulation of knowledge, some of which is arcane. And sometimes there seems to be no end to some of it.
What is the best advice you have ever given?
There was a new client who had not been attending to his affairs – and therefore been declared bankrupt. I told him that, however unfair it might seem, he should just walk away and start again and not fight the bankruptcy or any of the claims. He sadly ignored the advice.
What’s the best advice you have ever received?
I once asked what I had to do to be promoted to Partner. The reply was, “becoming a Partner is not a promotion. It is a recognition. When you act like a Partner and the staff and the clients treat you like a Partner, then you are a Partner and we merely recognise it.
If you were not a tax advisor, what do you think you would have been?
A very boring finance director of some company.
As your career reaches maturity, what are your goals now and are they different to what they were say 20 years ago?
20 years ago, I became comfortable with the belief that I would never fulfil my professional potential and that I would never leave a professional legacy. But what I could do was to be a decent guy – I may even have achieved it.
What has been your biggest learning curve?
VAT and the 6th Directive.
You have a talent of being able to translate complex tax laws for the layperson, is that something that comes naturally to you?
I think so. For me to understand something, I really have to know it intimately. After that, explaining it comes easily.
What are your outside interests?
I enjoy many activities outside of work. To name a few: playing classical guitar, a wide array of board games and single string kite flying.
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