Book Review - Taxation of Companies and Company Reconstructions (Ninth Edition)
Authors: Alun James, John Lindsay and Michael Collins
Published by Sweet & Maxwell
‘Taxation of Companies and Company Reconstructions’ is now in its ninth edition. The first edition was way back in 1973. It has been ever-present throughout my career as a Chartered Tax Adviser (although I hasten to add that I was still at junior school in 1973!). Over the years, it has become an established authority in the areas it covers, and rightfully so in my view.
Of course, there have been countless changes to the corporation tax regime since 1973. The pace of change in UK tax law and practice has been quite frightening at times. Fortunately, ‘Taxation of Companies and Company Reconstructions’ is a looseleaf publication, which is updated regularly.
Updates and Release Bulletin
There have been several important corporation tax developments over the last couple of years, including the changes made to the treatment of carried forward trade losses and property business losses, the corporate interest restriction (in fact, such is the potential significance of the corporate interest restriction that a new chapter of the book has recently been added), and changes to the substantial shareholdings exemption regime. These are among the many areas covered in recent updates of this publication.
A helpful feature of the looseleaf updates is a ‘Release Bulletin’, which summarises the tax changes covered in that update, and identifies where the new and updated commentary can be found.
Volumes and Divisions
‘Taxation of Companies and Company Reconstructions’ is an impressive-looking and weighty publication, which is divided into three volumes. The subjects covered are separated into divisions, and sub-divided into chapters. For example, the subject of the first division (A) is corporation tax, while the final division (W) covers reconstructions.
Regular users of ‘Taxation of Companies and Company Reconstructions’ will naturally gravitate towards those parts of the publication which are most relevant to their work. The most useful and relevant sections for me include: A (Corporation tax), D (Close companies), E (Distributions), G (Intangible fixed assets), K (Loan relationships) and W (Reconstructions). However, the division which I refer to most frequently is the final one on reconstructions, not least because of the valuable commentary on the 'transactions in securities' anti-avoidance provisions. There is also helpful commentary on the targeted anti-avoidance rule treating distributions in a winding up as dividends as opposed to capital payments in certain circumstances. In addition, Division E on distributions includes a chapter (E4) on companies purchasing their own shares, which has been and continues to be a regular part of my work.
The authors of 'Taxation of Companies and Company Reconstructions' will need no introduction to most readers who are regularly involved in tax. The publication is written to a very high technical level by eminent specialists. Despite the technical complexity of the corporation tax system and therefore the subjects covered, the commentary is written in plain, everyday language (so far as the topics allow!) and in a manner which is precise, and easy to digest and understand. The commentary includes coverage of important case law, footnotes for statutory references etc. and numerous worked examples, together with diagrams where appropriate, to enhance comprehension further. It provides authoritative but practical guidance on some complex areas of tax law.
Online and Other Subscriptions
An online version of 'Taxation of Companies and Company Reconstructions' is available via the Westlaw UK service. There is no CD version of this publication. As a three volume looseleaf publication is not the most portable of formats for users, an accessible online platform or possibly an e-book would be a very helpful feature for the publishers to consider developing in the future.
The cost of a new subscription for ‘Taxation of Companies and Company Reconstructions’ including three updates a year is £1,336. Tax publications generally tend to be relatively expensive, but the cost of this tax publication is probably at the higher end of the scale. However, in this case the cost is perhaps a fair reflection of the quality of the publication and the expertise of its authors. Those who advise on corporation tax and company reconstructions on a regular basis should find it a worthwhile investment.
In conclusion, 'Taxation of Companies and Company Reconstructions' is a high quality, high level publication. It is surely an essential tool in the corporation tax specialist’s armoury of technical and research materials. It should also be a useful addition to the tax library of non-specialist practitioners with corporate clients, especially those exposed to corporation tax issues that are perhaps unusual and outside the scope of their day-to-day work, particularly corporate restructuring work.
Further information and ordering details are included on the Sweet and Maxwell website: http://www.sweetandmaxwell.co.uk/Catalogue/ProductDetails.aspx?productid=6239&recordid=4110
Mark McLaughlin CTA (Fellow) ATT (Fellow) TEP