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Dr Ann Hansford

Dr Ann Hansford

Senior Lecturer in Accounting and Taxation


+44 (0) 1392 726677

Streatham Court, University of Exeter, Rennes Drive, Exeter, EX4 4PU, UK

Dr Ann Hansford joined the University of Exeter Business School in 2012 following 15 years in academic posts. Prior to that Ann was a tax manager dealing with practical tax issues for a range of clients from high net worth individuals to multinational companies.

This varied background is reflected in her current research interests that build on the extensive collaborative research work she has done with international academic colleagues.  The study she is engaged in currently focuses on the management of tax risk and in particular the impact of the recent significant changes in the assessment of reputational risk for large multinational companies.  In addition there have been multi-country investigations into tax compliance costs with data being collected with colleagues on four continents.  Ann was a visiting Research Fellow at ATAX, University of NSW, Sydney and she spent a sabbatical there in 2007. 

Retaining and nurturing working relationships with former business associates is an important aspect of her work and this has resulted in a variety of collaborative research projects with professional organisations such as the UK Chartered Tax Advisers, ACCA and CIMA, the UK HMRC, formerly the Inland Revenue and HM Customs & Excise, together with the UK National Audit Office.

Taking research into lecture halls and tutorial rooms has always been a guiding principle in her approach to a rounded academia career and her courses from basic tax for second year students, through final year and Masters students together with international MBA students, has enabled her research to be considered by a wide, thoughtful and critical audience beyond academic journals and the research conference circuit.


  • PhD, PGCE, CTA (Fellow)

Research clusters

Research interests

  • Management of tax risk
  • Reputational risk for multinational companies
  • International tax compliance costs

Current research activity

The study into the management of tax risk has involved interviews annually since 2013 with leading Tax Directors and is being undertaken with colleagues from the organisational behaviour department and a leading former tax practitioner.  This qualitative study has been able to monitor and reflect upon the significant changes that have occurred over the last 3 years. 

Concerns about reputational risk and the related governance issues following the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) hearings in 2013 have resulted in the data in the research study being of particular relevance to understanding how companies are, and will be, responding to these recent changes.

Tax compliance costs are often referred to as the ‘hidden costs’ of a tax system.  Governments may claim to be reducing the burden on business and cutting ‘red tape’ but the reality experienced by companies, large and small, and individuals is often contrary to that.  Our work has been on going for over ten years so that enables a longitudinal assessment as well as a cross country assessment of these costs.

Awards and Honours

  • Visiting Research Fellow University of NSW, Sydney.

Conferences and invited presentations

  • Hansford A (2012) UK Environmental Taxes University of Exeter Business School, Exeter.
  • Hansford A (2004) ‘EU Corporation Tax Reform’ Shell European Tax Managers Hamburg, Germany
  • Hansford A (2004) ‘The professional relationship between Tax Advisers and HM Customs & Excise: the next steps’ Workshop for Northern Branch of the Institute of Indirect Taxation, Manchester UK.

External positions

  • Editorial Board member, Journal of Tax Administration
  • Facilitator for HM Treasury Tax Development Programme
  • Member of the Environmental Taxes Working Group at the UK Chartered Tax Advisers
  • Member of Chartered Institute of Tax Standards committee.

Working with undergraduate, postgraduate and MBA students is a privilege. Tax can sometimes feel a very alien subject to second year undergraduate students and so the context of what is involved, and why, needs to be established right from the start. The technical aspects resulting from the annual cycle of tax changes can then be appreciated fully together with the political dimension created by the Chancellor’s annual budget.

Final year undergraduates can build on the introductory course that focuses on UK tax and consider more international issues and so see where tax fits in for multi national enterprises.  Current research involving international collaborators is a very interesting extension at this level of study.

Studying tax on an MBA course enables students to bring their own business situations to the class for discussion and debate. Current research is often applied to these practical situations that often involve investigating tax systems to decide on an optimal location.  Students complete the course with their business issues considered by an informed, thoughtful and constructively critical audience.