Are you wondering whether you might enjoy writing tax content for consumption by your peers?
Annette Morley, co-author of A-Z of Business Tax Deductions shares a few personal experiences.
Her book, is now available to purchase from Bloomsbury Professional.
My co-author Nicola Moore and I were invited by the editorial team at Bloomsbury to take forward the idea and basic structure they had formulated for their new title ‘A-Z of Business Tax Deductions’. We both thought the concept was brilliant and we were excited to be involved.
Particularly, we both appreciated the depth of detail that would be needed. Underpinning the presentation of each chapter were the references upon which we relied in formulating our own opinions and, even more importantly, sharing them with the reader so that they could apply those references to their own particular circumstances. For every chapter we needed to list the legislation, the leading case law and the HMRC manuals that were pertinent. So – above all else, we had to be thorough.
What did I learn?
A huge amount is the answer! This sums up my personal gain from the project. It gave me great satisfaction to follow the ramifications of the references trail and to believe, ultimately, that I had tracked down all the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle and transformed them into the requisite picture. Naturally, it had a knock-on effect on my work as well, there were instances when I directly used the conclusions from a chapter when formulating advice for a client (and I probably double checked the chapter before finalising my report!).
It quickly became apparent that there were no shortcuts here. However meticulous my CPD programme and my regular reading of tax news publications might be, every single piece of legislation had to be checked for changes, even one new subsection could cast doubt on a previously finite interpretation.
Tax cases being appealed could cause mayhem. The original had to be left in place, but the later one reasoned to highlight the failings of the original. It could show only a narrow set of circumstances were affected by the appeal, but the prospect of a chink in a well-established premise could never be ignored.
HMRC manuals gave their own challenge. These days the manuals are likely to show an annual review date, but there is no indication as to whether the commentary has actually changed since the last review. Careful reading and checking is the only solution. HMRC’s policy can lead to significant confusion to the user of the manuals, with perhaps a single phrase being either omitted or included that had not been there in the previous incarnation. A hint for advisers – always keep a copy of your own reference material when advising a client. If there is a relevant change which the client subsequently challenges, proving the HMRC or legislative guidance presented at the time of writing could be invaluable.
Are you still wondering?
Maybe, but I hope these shared thoughts have been of interest and perhaps will help you reach your own answer on writing for tax publications, or curiosity about the process.
Annette Morley is a Chartered Tax Adviser with many years’ experience in the realms of corporate, personal and capital tax matters.