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Where Taxpayers and Advisers Meet
BOOK REVIEW - The Taxation of Companies and Company Reconstructions
29/06/2015, by Mark McLaughlin CTA (Fellow) ATT TEP, Tax Articles - Company Taxation
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Taxation of Companies and Company Reconstructions

By Richard Bramwell QC, John Lindsay, Alun James, Julian Hickey, Michael Collins

Published by Sweet & Maxwell

A relatively small number of tax publications have been around for a considerable length of time. This is no doubt a reflection of their quality, usefulness and popularity. 'Taxation of Companies and Company Reconstructions' is one such publication. Indeed, the first edition of this book was published in 1973! It will need no introduction to practitioners who specialise or regularly advise in the areas of tax covered by the book. Over the years, it has become a leading authority on company taxation.

For the uninitiated, 'Taxation of Companies and Company Reconstructions' is a weighty, three volume loose-leaf publication. Its authors are all eminent tax specialists, who will probably need no introduction to most experienced tax advisers. The content of this publication is as comprehensive as its considerable size suggests. Its subjects are separated into divisions in alphabetical order.

Regular users will no doubt have their own ‘favourite’ divisions, as some will be more relevant to their day-to-day corporate tax work than others. The most helpful divisions in my day-to-day work as a consultant are: 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 regularly is the final one on reconstructions, not least because of the commentary on the 'Transactions in Securities' Anti-Avoidance Provisions (at W6). A further invaluable chapter is ‘Reconstructions: Shareholdings and Asset Transfers’ (at W3), and I have found the commentary on reductions of share capital (at W1.3) very useful in practice as well. Division E on distributions includes a chapter (E4) on companies purchasing their own shares, which has been another regular part of my work over the years. Generally speaking, there should be something for everyone who is involved in corporate tax and tax planning to any significant extent.

The tax world in general moves at an incredibly rapid rate. The Finance Act 2015 clauses and explanatory notes illustrate this point, if proof were needed. The taxation of companies is no different. Thankfully, 'Taxation of Companies and Company Reconstructions' is updated three times a year. Practitioners can therefore take comfort that such a relevant, up-to-date resource on the subject is readily available. A useful component of each update released is a summary of new content, which represents a helpful aide memoire of recent corporation tax changes. For example, update release 16 (December 2014) reflects changes introduced in Finance Act 2014, as well as recent case law, including BUPA Insurance Ltd and Perrin.

An online version of 'Taxation of Companies and Company Reconstructions' is available via the WestlawUK service. There is no CD version of this publication as far as I am aware. However, I understand that the publication will soon be available on Sweet and Maxwell's ‘e-reader’ platform, Proview. This should prove to be a very helpful development for users of this work.

'Taxation of Companies and Company Reconstructions' is written to a very high technical level. This should come as no surprise if one reviews the author list. Despite the technical complexity of the subjects covered, the commentary is written in plain, everyday language (so far as the subject matter allows) and in a manner which is precise, and easy to digest and understand. The commentary includes footnotes for statutory references etc, and there are numerous examples, with diagrams where appropriate, to assist comprehension further.

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 research materials. It should also be a useful addition to the tax library of non-specialist practitioners with corporate clients, especially when exposed to Corporation Tax issues which are perhaps unusual and outside the scope of their day-to-day work, particularly corporate restructuring work.    

The cost of a new subscription for ‘Taxation of Companies and Company Reconstructions’ including three updates a year is £1,047 (or the renewal cost of an existing subscription is £822 per annum). Tax publications generally tend to be relatively expensive, but the cost of this tax publication is at the higher end of the scale. However, in this case the cost is perhaps a reflection of the quality of the publication and the expertise of its authors. Those who advise on Corporation Tax and company reconstructions should find it a worthwhile investment. 

Further information and ordering details are included on the Sweet and Maxwell website.

About The Author

Mark McLaughlin is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Taxation, a Fellow of the Association of Taxation Technicians, and a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners. From January 1998 until December 2018, Mark was a consultant in his own tax practice, Mark McLaughlin Associates, which provided tax consultancy and support services to professional firms throughout the UK.

Mark  is a consultant with The TACS Partnership LLP ( He is also editor and a co-author of HMRC Investigations Handbook (Bloomsbury Professional).

He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation’s Capital Gains Tax & Investment Income and Succession Taxes Sub-Committees.

Mark is Chief Contributor to McLaughlin’s Tax Case Review, a monthly journal published by Tax Insider.

Mark is the Editor of the Core Tax Annuals (Bloomsbury Professional), and is a co-author of the ‘Inheritance Tax’ Annuals (Bloomsbury Professional).

Mark is Editor and a co-author of ‘Tax Planning’ (Bloomsbury Professional).

He is a co-author of ‘Ray & McLaughlin’s Practical IHT Planning’ (Bloomsbury Professional) 

Mark is a Consultant Editor with Bloomsbury Professional, and co-author of ‘Incorporating and Disincorporating a Business’. This content is available as part of a number of Bloomsbury Professional's online modules.

He is Editor and co-author of ‘HMRC Investigations Handbook‘ (Bloomsbury Professional).

Mark has also written numerous articles for professional publications, including ‘Taxation’, ‘Tax Adviser’, ‘Tolley’s Practical Tax Newsletter’ and ‘Tax Journal’, which provides free information and resources on UK taxes to taxpayers and professionals, and TaxationWeb’s sister site TaxBookShop.

Mark is a Director of Tax Insider, and Editor of Tax Insider, Property Tax Insider and Business Tax Insider, which are monthly publications aimed at providing tax tips and tax saving ideas for taxpayers and professional advisers. He is also Editor of Tax Insider Professional, a monthly publication for professional practitioners.

Mark is also a tax lecturer, and has featured in online tax lectures for Tolley Seminars Online.

Mark co-founded TaxationWeb ( in 2002.

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