Flexibility is a key asset when you’re putting together a RIFT team. That means finding people who can fit their schedule around our customers’ lives, being there for them wherever and whenever they’re needed. Ian Moss is a great example. He’s got a lot of strings to his bow, and always goes out of his way to make sure he never leaves anyone hanging. Here’s how he describes his personal Road to RIFT journey.

RIFT Rep Ian Moss with Mark Andrew Pearce

How did you get here?

I’ve got a pretty diverse background, professionally. Before I joined RIFT, I worked in advertising sales for Made in Cardiff TV. My job was mostly talking over layouts and designs or liaising with video makers. I worked for Newsquest for over 10 years, selling advertising space in newspapers and magazines. I’ve also had jobs sorting out gas and electric swaps, and have worked as a tiler – I actually tiled all the toilets at Merthyr Law Courts. I’ve worked in injection moulding and printing as well, so I’ve got a pretty wide range of experience to draw from.

Why did you choose RIFT?

When I did my interview with Robert Parker, the main thing that struck me was that this was a genuinely honest company in a field where a few rotten apples can cause a lot of damage. RIFT really does care about its customers and staff, which is so good to see in an industry that too often reduces real people’s lives to the numbers on the bottom line of a balance sheet. I enjoy helping people, and it’s amazing to find a business that shares my values.

What do you do day-to-day?

I visit a wide variety of sites, from Hinkley to the open cast mining site up near Bridgend East Pit. A connection at Unite gave me a little office to work in, and it’s where the main house builders are, but I also cover smaller sites like McCarthy Stone. It’s so important to build and maintain relationships in this job. That’s the key to making sure people know how to get hold of you, and understand what you can do for them.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

Honestly, the best days you can have in this job are the ones where you can help someone who’s struggling with HMRC troubles. If you’re not a tax expert, it’s amazing how easily you can get bogged down or tangled up in a mess of regulations. When someone comes to you weighed down with the stress of a HMRC penalty or a looming deadline, you can see that stress just physically lift when you tell them you’ll get it all sorted out. The best days are always the ones where you get to make someone else’s day better.

Where can people find you?

If someone can’t meet me on site, I always make an effort to fit in with their schedules. Sometimes that means filling out forms on the bonnets of cars, sometimes it means going through paperwork in a beer garden. Some people buy caravans to live on or near site for work, so I spend a fair amount of time explaining tax rebate claims in those. There was one site manager who travelled so far to his sites that he’d simply stay down in the caravan next to his office and only go home at weekends. People in tough jobs have to be adaptable like that sometimes, and so do I.

What do you find people struggle with the most?

Self Assessment tax returns trip up a lot of self-employed people, which can get them into trouble fast. No one (apart from our RIFT Personal Tax Specialists!) really loves paperwork or talking directly with HMRC. It’s good to be able to shoulder what can be quite a stressful load for people at times like those.

The worst thing you can do when HMRC starts chasing or threatening you is to stick your head in the sand. The best outcome you can get from ignoring the taxman still means missing out on money that should’ve been refunded. Things get worse fast when HMRC starts throwing around fines and penalties. Again, you need to move quickly before the problems pile up around you.

Talking to HMRC, even to get the right answers, is another real problem for most people. Even if you managed to say on hold long enough to get through, if you don’t have all the answers and information you need on-hand, the chances are you’ll get a bad response.

No one expects the taxman to be an expert on carpentry, but HMRC will definitely expect you to know your tax laws when you talk to them. That’s when you need a real expert on your side, because getting dodgy advice can be really damaging – even if it comes from a well-meaning mate. One man I helped had let a friend do his refund for him. Out of the blue, he gets a letter from HMRC demanding thousands of pounds. When he got in touch, I was able to fix the problem fast, but it goes to show how dangerous it is to get help from the wrong people.

Tell us a little about yourself

I like to travel, and I’m a big fan of proper old pubs. I’ve got an extensive mental catalogue of the cheapest pubs in Cardiff, for a start (the Borough’s a strong recommendation). I’ve sampled beers all over the world - in Africa, Sarento, the Dominican Republic, Lake Garda, on the top of Pyrenees and even Andora. Even so, I have to say that the best beer is still made in the UK.

On my travels, I’ve looked into a live volcano, visited Auschwitz and been on Safari in Africa. I’ve watched a massive bull elephant sleep against a tree, and been chased by another one protecting his family. One time, I was lucky enough to see (from a reasonably safe distance) a pride of lions stalking a herd of giraffes.

Outside of travel, I play both electric and acoustic guitar, along with the ukulele and mandolin. I’m mostly into rock, with Roger Waters a particular favourite, but I’ve been known to belt out a spot of REM on the mandolin from time to time.

If you think you could be owed tax back, use our free tax rebate calculator to get an instant estimate of how much you could be owed back from HMRC.