Three minute interview with John Whitehead
In this interview, we make reference to Bridge the Gap (BTG). This is a joint fundraising platform for Tax Help for Older People and TaxAid. The donations brought in are split between both charities, to support people in poverty who cannot afford paid tax advice.
1. Could you tell us a little about yourself?
I am a Chartered Accountant and Chartered Tax Adviser. I joined Andersen as a graduate from Cambridge University and specialise in Tax from the outset. I moved to Deloitte in 2002 when Andersen merged with Deloitte. My specialism has been advising international institutional investors on large UK and European Real Estate transactions which involved frequent travel across Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific. For several years I led Deloitte’s London Real Estate Tax Group and also did a stint on Deloitte’s UK Tax Executive. Having taken early retirement from Deloitte I now largely devote my time to charitable and voluntary activities.
2. Why are you supporting BTG?
I became a volunteer Tax Adviser for Tax Help for Older People in 2015 working with clients in North West London and still do this today. I was appointed as a Trustee of Tax Help in 2017. Currently, I’m spending a lot of time working on Fundraising for BTG. Having seen first-hand the role that Tax Help plays for clients I am a firm believer that those of us in the Tax profession who are in a position to contribute financially and/or with their time should do so.
3. What sort of fundraising have you been involved in for BTG?
I’m keen on the London Legal Walk and have walked with the BTG team in 2018, 2019 and 2021. Whilst it was rather wet last October, it was a great way to raise money for BTG as well as meet other supporters and staff of the Tax Charities. Our team of walkers representing BTG in 2021 was the largest yet – 70 people raising over £9,000 – and many of us ended the evening over drinks and pizzas in Gray’s Inn provided by the Trustees. Next year, London Legal Walk is returning to its traditional June date which should hopefully encourage even more of our supporters to join.
4. What do you like best about fundraising?
I enjoy working with and developing relationships with people across the different strands of the Tax Profession who have a common goal but bring different professional experiences and complementary professional networks. I have had a chance to get to know many senior people with a background in law firms, the Bar, industry, HMRC and the judiciary whom I would never have encountered in my previous role at Deloitte and I also get the chance to keep up with some former colleagues.
5. What’s the worst part?
The frustration when someone I know very well does not respond to an email. But I then tend to find that it’s been buried amongst hundreds of emails relating to a transaction they are working on at the time!
6. Do you have any tips for anyone else considering fundraising for BTG?
Spend a bit of time getting to know more about the Charities and the various opportunities to get involved whether by supporting events such as London Legal Walk or organising your own fundraising activities. I would encourage meeting and chatting to some of the Senior Management Team and perhaps some of the Trustees and other fundraisers. You’ll quickly become part of a real team effort.