School of Business and Economics

Our alumni

George Mylonas

Senior Policy & Technical Advisor, Transfer Pricing Policy Team, HM Revenue & Customs

George Mylonas studied Finance and Management (MSc) and then Accounting and Finance (PhD) at Loughborough University, graduating in 2018. George now works as an international tax specialist at HMRC.

Here, he discusses his academic career at Loughborough and the various challenges and joys of his work. 

Why did you choose to study accounting at the School of Business and Economics?

I studied economics at the University of Piraeus in my home town, Athens in Greece. During my studies, I was also working in my family’s business, an accounting and tax advisory. As a fresh graduate, I was keen to study and work abroad and chose the UK and Loughborough University for my masters degree in finance and management. I chose Loughborough due to its performance in the national university rankings, the campus facilities and the sports and social life it offers.

During my masters, I got enthusiastic about empirical research and I was intrigued to do my own project.  A year later, following my compulsory military service in the Hellenic air defence artillery, I started a fully funded PhD in accounting and finance.

I was motivated by the role the accounting numbers play in the extent of information asymmetry between companies and market participants such as analysts, investors, shareholders, government organisations. Hence, I concentrated my research on the impact of International Financial Reporting Standards adoption on analysts’ earnings (company profits) forecasts.

What is your current role?

I am currently a senior policy & technical advisor at the transfer pricing policy team of HM Revenue & Customs. Multinational enterprises often have numerous cross border transactions, and through transfer pricing compliance checks it is established that they pay the right amount of tax in the UK. I am a specialist in the area of permanent establishment and policy lead for the offshore property developers task force.

In my role, I provide specialist advice to HMRC customer compliance teams and international tax training to HMRC staff across all directorates. I also work on transfer pricing cases involving intra-group financial and non-financial transactions. Other responsibilities include work on ministerial advice, budget measures and briefing of government officials.

In international tax, there are fantastic opportunities to collaborate with other governments and international organisations such as the OECD, the EU, the UN.

How did you get there?

In my third year and while I was completing the first draft of my thesis, I was applying to roles in the financial services industry. I had meetings with the careers network advisers and also attended training events that were extremely helpful in the application and interview process.

Having previously worked in tax, I thought that the HM Revenue & Customs job offer would be a great opportunity to build on my existing skills and get decent industry experience. I was also keen to conduct empirical research using my PhD skills and work in government policy.

I started working in Mid-size Business and Wealthy Compliance with companies from a wide range of industries and then moved on to Large Business London Financial. I worked as the corporation tax specialist of global banks, stock exchanges and financial technology companies. The actual work is extremely interesting as it provides an insight on the international structures, financing and corporate strategies of multinational enterprises. It is a demanding role and requires frequent interaction with in-house tax and finance departments of large corporations as well as with their advisors such as Big4 and corporate law firms.

During my first three years at HM Revenue & Customs I was also studying towards a professional qualification in tax. It was challenging to balance work and professional exams in UK and international tax law but rewarding in the end.

I then worked for a year as policy advisor at the corporation tax strategy team of HM Treasury. The role involved working with external and internal stakeholders in developing and implementing tax policy measures and advising and briefing Ministers and other government officials on tax policy and changes in the UK and global economy. I worked on a measure which is forecast to reduce the UK Government debt by billions by bringing forward corporation tax payments by big companies and on a measure bringing the property income of non-resident companies into scope of UK corporation tax rules.

At HM Treasury, I also got the opportunity to utilise my data analysis and econometric skills and complete empirical research which resulted in three papers with tax policy implications. Finally I saw two of my tax policy proposals on capital allowances being announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer at Budget 2018. The first measure is forecast to generate £1.6bn for the Exchequer over five years and the second introduced an investment incentive for the capital expenditure on new non-residential structures and buildings, aiming to enhance the UK productivity and international competitiveness. A third measure to boost business investment by small companies was also informed by the project’s empirical results. 

How do you see your career progressing?

Advances in technology and globalisation are enhancing international trade and reduce the importance of country borders in the commercial world.

Corporate groups operate globally and their research & development, retail, management, manufacturing, finance, operations functions are often positioned in different countries. This has resulted to rapid increase in the number and value of cross border inter-company transactions across numerous tax jurisdictions.

Multinational enterprises regard transfer pricing as a critical issue for their business models. Following the financial crisis of 2008, governments faced enormous increases in sovereign debt and are increasing their efforts to increase tax revenues and defend their tax bases.

Transfer pricing involves a mixture of accounting, finance, economics, corporate law and taxation which I find extremely interesting. Hence, I aim to further specialise in the field of transfer pricing through technical work, policy and empirical research.

Substantial collaborative progress has been made by OECD countries to develop transfer pricing principles and there are further margins of improvement.

Excellent opportunities frequently appear and I am enthusiastically looking forward to make a positive contribution in the field.

Would advice would you give yourself looking back at your time at Loughborough?

If I could turn the clock back, I would stress even less and dream even more. It is crucially important to have positive, optimistic people next to you and real friends.

I would speak more about my work and my targets. Participating and writing papers for conferences, getting industry experience, developing networks of people does help to identify risks and get results faster.

I would also do more sports following the healthy mind in a healthy body principle. Being a subwarden was an unforgettable experience and I always wanted to get more involved in hall life, but I had a 100k words thesis to write as well.

At the end of the day, you have to like what you’re doing and enjoy it.

What advice would you give to doctoral researchers?

I would recommend doctoral researchers to reach out of Loughborough as much as possible and contact employers, organisations, other universities for upcoming roles and projects.

It is very useful to have their CVs and goals discussed with the Careers Network specialists and also get feedback from other experienced academics in their field.

Use of contacts via alumni, supervisors, family and friends does help not only to identify opportunities but also to get a decent understanding of the business you plan to get into.

Similarly, you need to ensure that you are up to date with the latest developments, challenges and prospects in your field.

As a PhD graduate you need to make yourself employable by building on your strengths and show that you can’t only make a unique contribution to the literature but can also make an impact in the real world.

Last thoughts?

To be motivated it is important to reward yourself for all the hard work. Personally, I enjoy cooking, exercising, playing the guitar and visiting the Greek islands with my brother and friends.