Perhaps I should start this review with an admission; I have always liked this book – even in the previous existences of both it and myself. When I was in practice – mainly the small/medium-sized firms like those that form the bulk of the Taxation readership – this book was a great aide for the non-specialist to acquire some specialist tax knowledge that was particularly helpful when one was expecting a new client, say a diver, author or doctor, to come to the office for an initial meeting with a view to appointing someone to act for them.
In the third edition, Keith Gordon looks at 15 specialist occupations – a new addition for this volume being a chapter on cemeteries and crematoria – ranging from the manual (lorry drivers, construction workers) through government (armed forces, diplomats and politicians), spiritual (ministers of religion) to cerebral (writers) and more.
Keith spends about a dozen pages on each occupation, meaning that a good overview of the issues and problems that are particular to them can be easily and rapidly absorbed. He looks at issues such as status, PAYE, expenses and the tax treatment of income or expenditure specific to the occupation.
As an example, the chapter on independent contractors has a short section on the historical background to the issues, followed by notes on disguised employment, managed service companies, IR35 and HMRC's use of the settlements legislation and the 'Arctic Systems' case. The chapter rounds off with a look at the promised or threatened forthcoming income shifting legislation.
There cannot be many high street practices without their fair share of clients in the construction industry. This chapter looks at the new construction industry scheme, and the turnover and compliance tests.
Following a look at these individual occupations, the book then has four chapters on particular topics or areas of legislation that are not industry specific, and that can affect different businesses. These are the beneficial occupation rules, PAYE rules for specialist occupations, employment status and exemption for late night taxis, etc.
At the end of the book there are useful appendices on fixed deductions for certain employees; occupations where early retirement is permitted; occupations qualifying for early receipt of pension benefits; a list of the occupations that are considered in HMRC's manuals; a list of HMRC's business economic notes and tactical information packages and the VAT flat-rate scheme.
I would say that this is an essential volume for the general practitioner who wants an expert insight into the tax niggles that can affect particular occupations. Impress your clients and the taxman with your specialist knowledge.
Reviewed by Richard Curtis
27 November 2008, p.577
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