Book Review: Tolley’s Taxwise II– Inheritance Tax, Taxation of Trusts & Taxation of Estates

 In Book Reviews for Private Client practitioners, Tax, Trusts

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Published by LexisNexis  |  ISBN 9780754553991


Book review Tolleys Taxwise IIThe Tolley’s Taxwise series has helped many a student of tax pass their exams. However practitioners will be missing a trick not to have to hand a copy of Volume II which provides a practical means of keeping up to date with changing legislation relating to Inheritance Tax (IHT), estates and trusts.

It is, however, useful for showing how to tackle computations and write appropriate letters of advice to clients on relevant tax matters.


The text is a book of worked examples which are updated annually. For example the 2017-18 edition illustrates the major changes introduced by the Finance Act 2017 and updated by the Finance (No2) Act 2017. The 2018-19 edition will be out shortly.

In addition to computations the text includes explanatory notes providing the law and practice relating to trusts and estates.

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It is useful to remind the practitioner of general points and for use as a training aid for staff. For example, the very first question asks ‘Outline the basic principles of IHT’ and then you have a basic summary as the answer all set out logically and with cross references to some other examples in the text. This is a useful refresher for the practitioner but a major help in training staff to focus on the key points when talking to or writing about IHT to clients.

Structure & Layout

The book is divided into six sections:

  • Inheritance tax – personal and estates – general
  • Inheritance tax – personal and estates – specific topics
  • Inheritance tax – settled property
  • Capital Gains Tax for trustees and personal representatives
  • Income tax and estates
  • Income tax and trusts
  • Wills

Each section contains a number of examples ranging from the basics of IHT to the complexities of specific subjects like Release of Reservations of benefit and the Double Charges Relief or CGT Entrepreneur’s Relief for Trustees. The Wills section is rather short and simple for many solicitors’ requirements.

Each example is in the form of a question – a bit like an exam question – and this is followed by the ‘answer’ and explanatory notes to the answer. For example, there are eight pages devoted to how the Residence Nil Rate Band works.


The text contains a summary of relevant tax tables and useful layouts for computations from calculating the IHT due in a particular matter, to a statement of trust income following the death of a life tenant so that the appropriate R185 can be supplied.

Clarity & readability

The text is written with commendable clarity and logic, so far as tax is logical. There are references to how in practice certain calculations are undertaken. The practitioner will find many examples which are often similar to client queries.

The format of question, model answer and explanatory note is helpful to the student and also the practitioner as it focuses the mind on a technical point or a general summary of the law in one area; makes the reader apply their mind to it by applying the law to the question and explains the reasons for the answer, which of course act as a refresher for the practitioner as much as new learning for the student.

Relevance to practitioners

I have always kept a copy of this book on my book shelf since doing my tax exams over 20 years ago. I have found them to be a useful source of computational examples which is so often lacking in other text books. The book is highly relevant to practitioners and students alike and will be a positive addition to any tax practitioner’s library.

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