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Meet the team – Carolyn Van Hecke


Carolyn Van Hecke

Job title

Senior VAT Manager

How long have you been at Cowgills?

I originally started with Cowgills on 2nd January 2006.  In 2008 I was headhunted to work in Australia, but that didn’t work out unfortunately (it’s a long story) and I came back to Cowgills in 2009.

Ok so tell us a bit about what you’ve previously done and what your role is now.

I originally started my life in VAT with Customs and Excise as it was then as a VAT inspector.  At Customs and Excise I also spent time in the Investigation Division and the Shadow Economy Team.

At Cowgills i work in the mysterious world of VAT as a VAT specialist, which means i cover anything and everything relating to VAT.  This includes working a bit of VAT magic from time to time!

Give us some highlights

Well last year I saved a local charity £140k VAT which had been overpaid on the construction of a new building.  This involved going into battle against HMRC and lengthy correspondence but in the end we were victorious.

I really don’t like losing especially when I’m up against HMRC.  Over the years I’ve lost count of the amount of VAT I have saved for clients but it certainly runs into millions!

What challenges do you find clients are experiencing at the moment, and how are you helping them to overcome them?

HMRC is under pressure to raise revenue with, we understand, individual targets of £1.2 million.  I’m advising clients and assisting them to introduce processes to minimise their risk of exposure to assessments, interest and penalties.  And of course with the domestic reverse charge about to be implemented on 1st October 2019, we’re busy assisting clients preparing for the new rules.

Any tips?

Be mindful of the consequences of getting VAT wrong and plan ahead.  It can be possible to fix issues retrospectively but it’s not always possible.


The information was correct at time of publishing but may now be out of date.

Posted by Cowgills
22nd July, 2019
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