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New Assessor of Income Tax 9 September 2004

The Treasury and the Civil Service Commission are pleased to announce the appointment of Malcolm Couch as the new Assessor of Income Tax. Malcolm is expected to take up post at the beginning of November 2004, and will work for a period alongside the retiring Assessor, Ian Kelly in order to ensure a smooth and effective transition.

During 15 years as a tax professional, Malcolm has had experience in a wide range of technical and managerial roles in both the public and private sectors. He started his tax career as one of Her Majesty's Inspectors of Taxes in the UK Inland Revenue, working in a number of districts before becoming the District Inspector of Nottingham Trusts, a specialist unit handling approximately 40% of all UK-resident trusts. Malcolm then successfully made the transition to the private sector, and had periods as a tax partner with Pannell Kerr Forster and as a senior tax consultant with Ernst & Young. For the last three years he has been Oil Products Tax Manager of the North Latin America and Caribbean Region of Shell.

Malcolm will lead the international and strategic side, while the technical day-to-day issues will be handled by John Williamson, an internal promotion to the newly created post of Senior Deputy Assessor. The role has been split to reflect the increasing importance of the international strategic aspects, which the Isle of Man has traditionally handled so well.

Malcolm grew up in Fleetwood on the Lancashire coast. A graduate of Sheffield University, he gained two Bachelor's degrees and a PhD. His initial career was medicine and after training Malcolm worked in hospitals in Sheffield before deciding to change tack and join the Inland Revenue. He will be moving to the island with his wife Caroline and a young son and daughter. He also has two sons who are completing their education in the UK. Malcolm loves travelling, and has had a number of travel articles published. He is a keen cook, wine buff and a committed genealogist.

Malcolm said:

"My family and I are excited about moving to the Isle of Man and becoming part of its community. For me, the opportunity to return to public service and build on the excellent work that Ian Kelly has done as Assessor was one that I could not turn down. A senior position such as this will bring many challenges, but I feel that my experience has prepared me well, and I am looking forward to facing them, supported by the excellent team in the Income Tax Division."

Malcolm Couch's appointment comes as the Isle of Man continues the development of the New Tax Strategy, progressed so much by Ian Kelly, which accommodates the EU Code on Conduct for Business Taxation - the introduction of a standard zero rate of income tax for businesses by 2006.

The Isle of Man Government can afford to move to a standard zero rate for Corporation Tax because it has a broad base of revenue. The Isle of Man Treasury Minister Allan Bell confirmed when presenting his Budget in February 2004 that the Isle of Man was on course to deliver this target. The prospect of no sudden change in our policy gives those conducting business on the Isle the security to plan long term.

Treasury Minister Allan Bell MHK said:

"I am pleased that Malcolm is to join us at this important time as we move towards the delivery of the tax strategy and into a crucial period in relation to tax information exchange agreements and other international negotiations. His experience in international tax matters and in negotiation will be extremely important for the Island as it becomes increasingly involved in discussions and negotiations with numerous jurisdictions."

In welcoming Dr Couch, the Treasury Minister paid tribute to the immense contribution to the development and reputation of the Island made by the current Assessor, Ian Kelly. He expressed his gratitude to Ian for agreeing to stay on beyond his planned retirement date to ensure Malcolm settles into post quickly and effectively.

Treasury Minister Allan Bell MHK gave praise to Ian during February’s Budget:

"Without question, his outstanding abilities, not only in developing our taxation strategy, but more especially his performance as our lead negotiator at many of our international tax negotiations meetings has helped to steer the Island through potentially extremely stormy waters, to the position we have achieved today.

"Ian has earned great respect for himself and his country both on and off the Island and without his efforts and skill our Budget today could have looked very different.

"The Isle of Man owes Ian a debt of gratitude and I would like to add my personal thanks to him for his help and support during this challenging period."

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