Returning to work

Returning to work

It is not uncommon for professionals to take a career break at some point in their working lives for numerous reasons, such as:

  • Maternity, paternity or adoption leave or to support with childcare.

  • To take care of elderly or ill family members, or due to personal illness.

  • To take a sabbatical, eg to enjoy period of time overseas or get involved another career all together.

Equally, you may have found yourself unemployed following a redundancy or might be considering coming back from early retirement because you enjoy the challenge of working life. Others might be looking to generate more income due to changes in their personal circumstances.

Whatever it is that has prompted you to consider returning to work, whether as an employee or to set up in practice these pages are for you!

The ATT is a great resource for anyone wanting to get back into tax. By getting involved with your local branch you can attend seminars and undertake CPD both online and in person to help update your network and your tax knowledge. You could even consider qualifications, such as the ATT's four Foundation Qualifications in Personal Tax, Business Tax, VAT Compliance and Transfer Pricing, or the CIOT's new Diploma in Tax Technology. These are all great ways to reboot your CV and are all available online, so you can study them in a flexible way to fit around your other commitments. 

The ATT offers a reduced subscription rate for members not working or on low incomes.  For more details see Fees and Subscriptions.

If you have a personal story about your return to work experience, do get in touch, we’d be delighted to hear from you. 

If you would like to speak to a member of the team please email us with 'Returning to Work' in the subject header.

Resources for Returners to Work

If you have been on an (extended) break from work you may not be aware of the latest CIOT/ATT Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements. Do familiarise yourself with the latest regulations and guidance which are available here. 

The CPD regulations apply to members who: 

  • 1.2.2. Work providing taxation services (which includes complementary accounting and legal services) including, without limitation, those in private practice, the public sector, commerce, industry or not for profit sector; or; 

  • 1.2.2 do not fall in paragraph 1.2.1 above but who use the designation, CTA, CTA (Fellow), ATII, FTII, Chartered Tax Adviser, ATT, Taxation Technician, ATT (Fellow), Taxation Technician (Fellow) or ADIT.” 

You should assess and perform such CPD as is appropriate to your duties. 

You may have suspended CPD whilst temporarily not working, though some members will continue to have undertaken CPD during this period to maintain their skills.  In either case upon returning to work the CPD guidance suggests the following approach: 

  • 10.5.2 After any break a member must bring their knowledge sufficiently up to date to resume activities. In order to minimise the impact, we suggest that members consider whether they are going to maintain CPD throughout the period when they are temporarily not working or undertake a more intensive CPD programme on returning to work as either approach is acceptable. If taking up a new role a member should consider whether any additional CPD will be required to enable them to carry out their duties effectively” 

It is a membership requirement to maintain records of all CPD undertaken and keep this record up to date.  There is a useful form to help with this. 

The CPD guidance provides information on the wide range of activities that count as CPD. We recommend that you review section 9 so you may accurately identify and record all the relevant CPD you undertake.  

If you have any queries on your CPD requirements as a ‘returner to work’ please contact us.

Never underestimate that uphill journey back into the workplace after having had your baby/babies. No matter how long you choose to (or need to) absent yourself for, you come back having experienced all manner of horrors during your period of matrescence, yet life in the office has oddly stood still. I found my cases hadn’t progressed much and for everyone else around me I may as well have just been away for a bank holiday weekend. Yet my mind didn’t seem to work in the same way, my priorities had shifted, I had (an)other human being(s) to keep alive, I had 9,641 things to think about during the day on top of my usual workload and shock horror I had to leave in time for nursery pick up. The morning shift was no easier- ignoring the sleepless nights and the general exhaustion, some days I had been up since 5am having fought various emotional battles on route to work and would walk into the office feeling like a cross between superwoman and an intruder. Validation, understanding, empathy, a leg up, a shoulder to cry on, your professional body, are happy to provide all of these things. Don’t just feel supported, feel embraced. You’ve got this. Be patient. Don’t wish away the years - your career is a marathon, not a sprint. 

Helen McGhee Partner, Joseph Hage Aaronson LLP

“Shortly after I qualified as a CTA, I had my first baby and took a year of maternity leave. After a year back at work, my second child was born and I took a further 10 months leave. Coming back to work after this second break was very difficult. I felt completely out of touch – there had been some fundamental changes to the property and corporate tax rules that formed the basis of my practice and I was acutely aware that I had been out of the workplace for two of the previous three years. I was very fortunate to work in a supportive team and for a law firm that agreed to my request to return part time, but felt the pressure to prove to my colleagues that they were right to ‘back me’ by firing on all cylinders and not having any gaps in my knowledge. I looked outside my firm for resources to get back up to speed. I didn’t find the perfect, packaged ‘returners course’ I was after, but did make some great connections within the CIOT that I enormously value eight years on. I firmly believe that individuals returning to the tax profession after a break bring with them a unique dedication to succeed and a valuable fresh perspective. It is incumbent upon all of us currently working in tax to create a supportive environment in which ‘returners’ can thrive.”

Julia Cockroft, Tax Partner, Bristows LLP

If you would like to share your personal story do get in touch with the Head of Member Services, Emma Barklamb.

Emma is also available to support members on a 121 basis, to schedule an appointment contact Emma Barklamb or call 07867 530574