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4.2 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This 200+ page book will not comprehensively address many tax issues which, presumably, readers are buying it for. It's a relatively superficial overview of pretty much all personal taxation regimes from pensions to savings, to PAYE, to Stamp Duty and VAT. The book is laid out in accessible way - in the sense that it's not crammed full of text, instead having large bold blue titles, or white on blue titles, boxes offering tips, others directing readers to web sites etc. All this means that there is even less space for any detail but nonetheless because it is so wide ranging you will find something new.

If you are new to UK taxation then this book may well be for you. If you have a specific set of queries, the book probably won't provide sufficiently comprehensive information to meet your needs. It might direct you to a Which web page, or a HM Government Revenue and Customs site, but in practice Google will probably get you to the same place. You might also be better off with a website as the government continues to develop taxation policy on the fly no longer confined to the Budget or Autumn Statement. This seems to be particularly the case at the moment as the balancing act between economic growth and deficit reduction measures goes on.

So in conclusion, for a small group of people this book will be very useful. For most it will confirm what you already know and you'll find out a bit about taxes that are a little more obscure. If you've got a detailed question you likely won't find the answer here.
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on 4 June 2012
This is OK background reading for someone with no idea of how the tax system works or trying to find out about a new area such as retiring or becoming self employed. Apart from the IHT allowances section which is ambiguous and confusing, its clearly written and well laid out.
But thats about it. Its all very general and if you understand the basics of tax and pensions you will learn little new.
Its brevity means that the contents should not be relied on without further research. There is no mention, for example of the different tax credits rules for over 60s.
It would perhaps be better to move pensions and even self employment into separate books which would enable more detailed information on the core topics. The ridiculous complexity of the tax system means a book like this cannot really be described as a 'handbook'. Read it as an intro by all means but to get the full picture this is no substitute for ploughing through the HMRC website.
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on 4 January 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is an easy-to-read guide to taxes; well written and structured. It is a useful starting point but may not be so helpful for those who already have a basic knowledge.

There is plenty of good advice and it does explain things in easy to understand terms. It covers a wide range of scenarios so is worth a read before seeking professional help.
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I have given this book 5-stars because it was the first to be published after The 2013 Budget: no mean feat. Other publications have since followed.

I cannot provide an in depth review of this book because I purchased it for one specific piece of information which I did not find, at least not to my satisfaction. However, I did find a worked example of my problem in another 2013 tax guide, which given a longer timescale may have given the author more time to consider what to include.

Notwithstanding, this is a comprehensive book written in a clear style and a worthy purchase if discounted.
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VINE VOICEon 19 September 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
No, don't expect to be moving to Monaco or Cayman after reading this book, you won't be an expert just yet. But that's not what this book is about. It is a handbook, and as such gives a relatively simple high level overview of the main taxes and the issues that arise.

It's not Tolleys, but it doesn't claim to be. A good starting point for those wanting to understand the system.
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on 9 September 2013
I bought this book to assist in completing my self-assessment tax return but it covers every aspect of personal taxation. Everything is explained clearly and simply.

I have not used any other book so cannot comment on comparisons but based on my experience, I would recommend it to anyone who needs a low cost guide to self-assessment and anyone who wants to navigate the twists and turns of the UK's tax system.

Highly recommended!
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
One of the things I learnt from this book is that one in three of us taxpayers has to complete a Tax Return each year. If we want to submit our Return on paper and have HMRC calculate what we owe, we have to make sure it reaches them by the end of October. It's later if you are happy to submit on-line (and HMRC's interactive form will calculate the tax due as you go), but must be done by 31st December if you want what you owe (providing it is no more than £2000) to be deducted from your next year's earnings. But in any case the Return has to be made and any tax owing paid (if not to be deducted next tax year) by 31st January. There is a fine for not doing, which increases sharply if you let it go on for several months, but there are a few reasons acceptable to HMRC for not filing on time, and many that are not. All this and much more is clearly set out in this excellent book.

And not just Income Tax. Capital Gains Tax, Inheritance Tax, Excise Duty for Motor Vehicles, the tax on various forms of savings and investments, the all-important allowances and areas of tax exemption within all these taxes, and much more are all comprehensively detailed.

Although I already had some knowledge of each of the main forms of tax that touch most of us, I expected reading this book to be a chore. It wasn't. Admittedly, it would be harder work for those not already familiar with at least some of the terminology, but with perseverance any reasonably literate and numerate person should be able to understand all that is set out here. One of the better pieces of advice, of course, is that if you feel out of your depth you should pay a professional to prepare your Tax Return for you. The book goes on to tell you how much you might expect to pay, that if your income is low you may qualify for free help, and where to access that help (TaxAid). HMRC's own Website can be helpful too, and these days you will be treated humanely if you drop-in to your local tax office with a question. Or you can telephone, though it can take a long time to reach a real person. Even if you use a professional, the overview of the tax system this book provides, and how you might legally minimise the tax you pay, will still be invaluable.

So, five stars! Most of us could think of books that tell a more engrossing story, provide more laughs, or both, but what this book sets out to do it does very well. This edition has been fully revised for the current tax year, leaving no obvious breaks or joins, so full marks for that too.
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VINE VOICEon 7 August 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Tony Levene is a highly respected financial journalist of great experience, and his expertise is fully evident in this latest edition of the Tax Handbook 2012-13. The ten chapters identify the main areas for consideration and the final chapter is especially helpful in offering a step-by-step guide to a tax return, a calendar, useful addresses and advice on getting outside help on tax matters. There is a glossary of terms and a comprehensive index.

Over and above these worthwhile features are Tony Levene's use of crystal clear language to explain often very technical or complex tax matters, a wealth of useful tips and clarifications often set in boxes and other graphic devices which draw attention to matters of particular interest or importance.

The text is written in mercifully jargon-free English, and while I can imagine such a handbook being designed differently, I cannot imagine it being done better. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Tax is a huge subject with lots of specialist areas, so for a book to cover all areas will always be a challenge. The Which? handbook spans all but the most niche areas of day-to-day tax, but in covering so many subjects it lacks depth in any. The information provided is on a level with the government website directgov, with the bonus of the Which? book being a far nicer layout and easier to look through.

The book is a very good place to gain a basic understanding of tax and tax terms, but if there's an element of tax you want to explore it's unlikely this book has the answers. If you want to give your daughter money as a wedding present this book tells you how to ensure it's tax free, but the sections on self employed taxation and self assessment barely cover the basics.

Very much a light, family based, basic guide to the concept of tax and when you might encounter it.
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on 11 August 2013
I really wanted the Daily Mail Tax guide 2013/2014 by Jane Vass.However, this does not appear to be available.The Daily Mail guide, in my opinion, is better formatted with more details for an individuals tax affairs.If I can get the Daily Mail guide for this current tax year I would like to order it.
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