Indirect Tax Partner & Head of VAT



Charities & Not-for-Profits. SMEs. Large Corporates. International.


VAT Advisory. VAT Compliance. Customs Duties. Excise Duties. Plastic Packaging Tax.


Charities & Not-for-Profit. Leisure, Retail & Hospitality. Food & Drink. Property & Construction. Industrial. Manufacturing. Energy. Technology. Health.


Based in Central Scotland, Maria McConnell is an Indirect Tax Partner and Head of our VAT team. She has a specific focus on VAT advisory & compliance services as well as Customs & Excise duty issues to our UK and international client base.

Maria also heads up our amavat compliance service, which provides UK VAT compliance services to EU-based e-commerce businesses.

Maria adopts a down-to-earth approach to dealing with VAT issues for her clients, keeping them well-informed on relevant matters, whilst providing robust and tailored technical advice.

Playing a part in success stories

“For me, one of the most satisfying aspects of my work is learning about clients’ businesses, what they do, and what they are trying to achieve and aiming to facilitate those goals by making the VAT aspects of their business as simple as possible. I like to ensure that clients know I have their best interests in mind whenever I’m dealing with their business affairs and providing advice and they therefore are happy to let me deal with HMRC on their behalf.

I also love being able to play a small part in our clients’ success stories.  Knowing that the advice and support I’ve provided has made a business decision simpler, or clearer, is always rewarding, even if sometimes those decisions can be painful at the time. Usually, even difficult decisions are made easier with the right advice behind them.”

Finding a balance between virtual and ‘hands-on’

“Given a choice, I would always opt for the more hands-on approach. I like to meet clients and colleagues in person as I believe this leads to better working relationships. However, the increased use of virtual meetings has been a fantastic tool which has made it much easier to have clients in remote locations and put a face to their name.”

The best compliment

“I think the fact that clients come back to me time and again suggests that they must like what I do, so clients wanting to continue working with me is probably the best compliment I could get.  I also try to keep advice as jargon-free as possible and explain things to clients in as simple terms as I can, which I know many clients have voiced their appreciation for.”

A people person

“Aside from my knowledge and experience, I believe the greatest strengths I bring to AAB are my people skills. I’m very much a people person and like to meet new people and make them feel at ease, which often comes in handy when meeting clients who are faced with VAT issues that they might not understand, or which are causing them concern.  I enjoy helping to make VAT issues less worrying for clients, and I believe my straight talking, down-to-earth manner really helps with this.

I also love working as part of a team and will always make myself available to help colleagues whenever I can.  I like to encourage collaboration across different disciplines as well as grades, as often this leads to new ways to approach old problems and offers opportunities to help more junior team members learn and develop.”

Managing expectations

“One of the biggest challenges for indirect tax advisors is managing client expectations when dealing with HMRC.  In some cases, clients might be struggling financially but are expecting a repayment of VAT; it’s our job at the outset to make the client aware that it can take months to obtain a repayment of VAT and perhaps help them look to other means to relieve cash flow pressures in the interim.”

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  1. Blog4th Jun 2024

    Maria McConnell, Indirect Tax Partner

    Understanding VAT on Food: Key Cases and Insights

    VAT has been a continuance in the UK since the 1st April 1973. While many might have wondered at the time if it was an April Fools- the fact that it’s remained for the last 51 years states that it’s…

    By Maria McConnell

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