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Harwood Hutton's directors have accumulated more than 440 years
professional experience between them.

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Michael Ashdown
Contact Michael
Michael Ashdown
Head of VAT and Indirect Taxes
Michael started his career in HM Customs and Excise (as was) before joining the profession and passing his tax exams. He worked at a Big 4 firm and for the past 12 years has been a director at a Top 10 firm.

Throughout his career Michael has worked with owner-managed businesses and has undertaken a great deal of work with other professionals, as well as with a number of property and construction companies.

He has sat on the Land & Property Liaison committee with HMRC and was involved in the discussions with HM Treasury that led to the new rules on VAT and Vouchers.

Michael has been involved with one of the large advertising and media organisations for a number of years, providing advice as well as regular updates for staff on indirect tax. He has worked with several clients involved in the international supply of goods and services, and he has recently been looking at the effect that the introduction of VAT in the Gulf region will have on storing and selling goods within that area.

Michael is a Chartered Tax Adviser as well as a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Tax Advisers. In his spare time Michael is trying to improve his running and goes to the gym a few times a week.

“VAT can be a highly complex tax, especially in the property sector where similar transactions may have differing VAT liabilities, depending on the background and the facts,” says Michael. “In the international field, it may be necessary to register for VAT if you make supplies to customers in a country, even if you do not have a permanent establishment there for direct tax purposes. There are a number of interactions between VAT and Customs duty, and post Brexit, there may be further changes introduced to our VAT system.”


Michael is a member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation, the leading professional body in the UK for advisers dealing with all aspects of taxation whose primary purpose is to promote education in taxation with a key aim of achieving a more efficient and less complex tax system for all.
Michael specialises in the following services

Awards & Affiliations

Client Testimonials
  • I always get quick, clear and definitive responses from the Harwood Hutton tax team – commercial answers to commercial issues.

    Robin Berry – Morgan Management
  • Right from the outset Harwood Hutton gave us direction and great advice – and that advice has evolved over the years as we’ve grown. We’re both medium-sized companies providing a bespoke service – one furniture, one accountancy – and the relationship works.

    Andy McCarron, McCarron and Co
  • I’m deeply impressed with Harwood Hutton’s extensive knowledge of tax arrangements for residential and commercial property landlords.

    Qadeer Ahmed, MD, ABA Finance
  • They really took their time to understand what was important to us and our business and the expertise we required. Whoever we speak to at HH, we get the same fantastic response and technical input. It’s a real partnership.

    Edward Finch, group MD, MRIB insurance brokers
  • I have worked with the directors at Harwood Hutton on a number of mutual client matters over many years. The reassurance of their clear, commercial and focussed advice is one of the main reasons I regard this as one of my most valuable professional relationships.

    Frank Wessely, Partner, Quantuma LLP
  • Harwood Hutton never seem to rest on their laurels. They are always seeking out new avenues and ways to improve their offering. A very forward-thinking company with staff who are always well briefed and who approach each task with drive.

    Karl Austen, MD, Surefoot Communications
  • We have engaged Harwood Hutton in several areas of structuring, including VAT issues, decoupling an SPV from a group structure and HMRC clearance for a transaction. The team have exceeded all expectations by being proactive, measured and very thorough.

    Adam Fawsitt, Director, FHT Limited
  • We moved to Harwood Hutton as they delivered a succinct and professional proposal. If anything, we have been more impressed post-move. They are a fantastic company to work with. They do truly differentiate. They have the skills and capabilities of a mega firm but with a personal service.

    Edward Finch, group MD, MRIB insurance brokers
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