I'm a self-employed writer, so my tax situation has never fitted easily into the usual boxes. Wanting to conduct my business on the up-and-up, I've hired three different accountants since I moved to the UK, and each of them let me down -- each in their own expensive way.
This time around, I'm doing my own taxes. The confidence I got from reading Teach Yourself: Understanding Tax for Small Business alone inspired me to look into my account on the HMRC website, and I'm glad I did: I discovered an underpayment of £350 and that my address was outdated. Thank you, ex-accountant! Because of this, I've been able to take care of the shortfall in advance instead of being surprised in July.
Then there's the substance of this book, which is excellent. From the page layout to the plain English it's written in, it's totally approachable. In just a few places it dips into accountant-speak terminology, and the sections on pension relief and revenue expenses -- the two things I was most curious about -- were a bit thin and difficult to decipher. But as a general introduction to the subject, it still an excellent work. I feel comfortable now approaching HMRC's forms (which themselves are well-explained), and instead of facing a mountain of intimidating confusion, I now know exactly what I need to learn more about. Then I can file my own return, and keep abreast of exactly what's happening in my business's financial life.
For all that, I'm extremely grateful to the author of this book. For anyone who's self-employed, I would strongly recommend reading this book and learning the principles it puts forward, even if you plan to use an accountant. Money mistakes -- especially those that relate to the government -- are the surest way to suck all the fun out of having your own independent business.