Edel Butler, Chartered Tax Adviser, Office of the Revenue Commissioners
How did you decide you were interested in tax?
I studied Civil Law in UCD and then went on to train as a solicitor with The Law Society.
I studied a module of tax as part of the training to be a solicitor and realised that I really enjoyed this part of the course. So when I qualified as a solicitor, I researched the possibility of obtaining a qualification in tax. I discovered that the Irish Tax Institute was offering the Hunt Scholarship to individuals who were qualified barristers / solicitors. I applied for this scholarship and was lucky enough to be successful!
The scholarship gave me a place on the AITI Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) programme, and a 9 month work placement with William Fry Solicitors.
What skills from your degree did you find would help you in your career in tax?
My degree in Law taught me how to read, analyse and interpret legislation.This was a skill which came to the fore when studying with the Irish Tax Institute.
Tax is based on legislation and so knowledge of law / legislation was a huge benefit in my studies on the Chartered Tax Adviser programme, and also in my day to day job.
Tell us about what your job is about?
I work in an audit team within Revenue. When I applied for this job, it was a highly sought after position with almost 900 applicants! I have no doubt that I would not have got the job without the Chartered Tax Adviser qualification.
Although I am a technical expert in my district, the majority of my job is involved with the audit process. I work with individual tax payers and their tax advisers and / or accountants along with Revenue colleagues within my own district and in other areas of the organisation.The audit process involves me preparing my file after I have analysed the tax payers tax returns and other information, which allows me to prepare my Audit Plan which I bring to the initial (and possible subsequent) interviews with the tax payer and / or their advisers. Almost every day I will at some point research some element of tax law and I really feel that the skills I have learned through the Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) qualification have been vital in helping me do this.
What do you enjoy most about working in tax?
Tax is really diverse. Tax law is changing all the time and as a tax adviser you must stay up to date on all the tax changes brought in by the Finance Acts. I really like that this makes it a challenging and rewarding career. The Revenue Commissioners offers great opportunities to its staff. There is huge scope for movement within the organisation and their great mobility policy ensures that staff do not stay in the one area for long periods of time. This means staff are regularly rotated around to ensure they have experience in different sectors and areas of tax.
So are you pleased with your decision to pursue a career in tax?
Yes I am! I really liked that I could work and study for my tax qualification at the same time. It was also so encouraging that employment figures among qualified Chartered Tax Advisers (CTA) are high. The Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) qualification offers great opportunities and is a great accompaniment to my legal qualification. In a few years’ time, I would like to think that I would be promoted within Revenue and have the responsibility of an Audit Team which would report to me.