Forster joins the firm as VAT and indirect tax senior manager and will assist the firm’s clients following “unprecedented” demand for advice on tax and international trade issues ahead of Britain’s exit from the EU next month.
He is described as a “hugely experienced” tax advisor, whose most significant role was at The Co-operative Group, where he spent 18 years. Here, he became head of indirect tax and played a leading role in developing the group’s tax policy for managing VAT, customs and excise duties and insurance premium tax.
Forster recently completed a seven-month secondment as part of the Amazon VAT advisory team, where he was involved in a number of significant global and UK projects.
He began his career as a VAT inspector in 1986 before joining EY in Liverpool in 1994, becoming a VAT manager in 1997. He took on the role as the first senior VAT manager at Grant Thornton in Liverpool in 1998 before joining the Co-op in 2001.
Jonathan Main, indirect tax partner at MHA Moore and Smalley, said: “Steve has a huge amount of VAT experience and knowledge, particularly as a result of his in-house roles in highly complex and diverse organisations.
“As we reach the end of the Brexit transition period, demand for specialist tax advice is at an all-time high and Steve will be an incredible asset to the firm and our clients at this critical time.”
Forster said: “I started my career as a VAT inspector for HM Customs and Excise, and have worked for several of the largest professional services firms in the UK.
“My time at the Co-op exposed me to complex VAT issues within sectors as diverse as food retail, travel, healthcare, farming, property, banking, insurance, even funerals.”
He added: “The demand for advice on import and export matters is at its highest for over 40 years, so I’ve joined MHA Moore and Smalley at a very busy time. The firm’s membership of the Baker Tilly International network sees it advising clients not just in the UK, but around the world.
“I’m looking forward to helping businesses and their management teams bring a sense of clarity to indirect tax matters as the UK navigates the choppy waters of Brexit.”