Monday, November 17, 2008

Hutton on Estate Planning - all tax books should be written this way

I've been attending Matthew Hutton's very useful Monthly Tax Review sessions for some while now. We share a desire for sharing knowledge and for commenting on current tax developments.

One big difference between us is that Matthew has made time to write a heavyweight book on 'Estate Planning'. I have a copy in front of me as I type this. I can't imagine how Matthew managed to do this on top of his other regular activities. More than that though Matthew has set a new standard for tax books as he has committed to publishing monthly updates. Indeed the entire book is also available as a web based resource thus making it very easy to find just what you are looking for. The book was initially published in September 2008 and the online version already now benefits from 2 updates which are incorporated into the text.

When I was in practice and researching technical material I knew how important it was to check the publication date of any books to which I referred. And I sympathised with the publishers who were reduced to promoting out of date books when the authors had not updated them. Very few tax books require no updates at all during the year.

Hutton on Estate Planning was evidently written as a labour of love and Mathew is to be congratulated on his commitment and dedication. I love the sub-title "Practical Solutions to Today's Problems" as this highlights the approach he has adopted throughout the book. The text is also sprinkled with highlighted 'tax traps' as well as extensive case and legislative references.

If I were still involved in the provision of tax advice myself this is one book I would want on my shelf. More than that I would also want to be able to access the ebook version too. Without it you are reduced to having to check various sources to identify the impact of new case law, HMRC publications and related material that arises throughout the year. I suppose that if I was a dedicated reader of a pre-existing annual publication on the same subject matter I might remain 'loyal' but I'm not sure that there is a comprehensive alternative and especially one that is kept so uptodate throughout the year.

And for those who wonder about Matthew's commitment in this regard - do note that he has proved his credentials as he has been writing monthly tax updates for fifteen years already.

As I said above, this book (on and offline) sets a new standard for tax publications. It won't be easy for the mainstream publishers to replicate this but it's something they will need to consider.

Edit: I'm delighted that, having read the above post, Matthew has offered a discount to readers of the TaxBuzz blog who are members of the Tax Advice Network. If you are interested in the online version of the book, just quote 'TAN' when you email Matthew on to qualify for the 10% discount.


  1. Sounds excellent.

    Is the book for specialists only, for accountancy professionals only, or suitable for the educated layperson?

  2. I think it's far too complex a subject for the educated lay person Rosemary. The book is aimed at the accountants and tax advisers who advise on this subject and need a good grounding in the current state of play across all related issues. It's certainly not a DIY guide for the untrained.