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Only for the absolute beginner
on 13 April 2014
Mercifully, unlike some of the Dummies books, this one is aimed at the UK market albeit at times its American origins come through. This is obviously essential when it comes to discussing tax and legal issues. It is a straightforward, readable guide, covering the basics but in a very shallow way. I found the first part of the book to be a waste of time - it looks at the ways in which a business can be established, what sort of home-based businesses there are, etc - I already know what I am going to do. I had assumed the book was aimed at those just about to start their own business, rather than those thinking about doing 'something'.
Overall I wasn't impressed by the book. I have a business background based in finance so many of the financial and legal aspects were familiar to me. The information in the book is basic to say the least - there is far better and more comprehensive information available for free from various business and government support websites - and could lead readers up the wrong path. I thought it was hilarious that more space is devoted to selling a business than to say, VAT, which is likely to be an issue much sooner that the sale of a business is. The tax chapter overall is very weak (this was my specialist area for many years so the easiest for me to comment on). Whilst I fully appreciate that the book is not intended to provide a comprehensive overview of home business taxation, I was surprised that, having mentioned the dangers vis a vis business rates of using part of your home exclusively for business purposes, no mention (that I could find) was made of the capital gains tax implications that arise in the same situation. In the section dealing with business structures (sole trader v limited company) there is no mention of the possibilities of using a limited company to reduce national insurance costs by paying dividends instead of salary. This is a pretty basic planning point so its omission seemed very odd to me.
A lot of the rest of the advice is very basic or states the obvious e.g. you should minimise costs (now I would never have thought of that on my own!)
I wouldn't recommend this book - you can get better information on the practical aspects of setting up a business from a myriad of online sources (government and small business websites like Businesslink, accountancy websites and open tax forums).