Tax law updates at the speed of e-mail

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The Independent Online
TO MANY, e-mail has become the latest torture in the world of work, writes Roger Trapp. For every person who loves dashing off witty memos, there is another who sees the arrival of a message as just another demand on their time.

E-mail is, however, a great way of communicating - particularly when so many businesses span time zones. And now suppliers of information are cottoning-on to its power.

Butterworths Tolley, the leading publisher of legal and tax information, has announced that it is to launch Tax Direct, which will supply the latest developments in tax law over the internet and use e-mail to alert users to its arrival.

The move comes as another specialist publisher, GEE Publishing, has added an e-mail facility to its electronic information service, the Personnel Manager's FactFinder.

GEE says that developments such as the Employment Relations Bill, based on the White Paper, Fairness at Work, and the arrival of the minimum wage demonstrate the need for employers of all sizes to have access to the latest moves in employment law.

Speed is of the essence, as Steve Savory, Butterworth's internet publisher for tax and accountancy, points out. "With Tax Direct," he says, "we will e-mail you to tell you that it's happened, provide the full text of the concession, and link that new concession into the Butterworths Tolley reference works you already use. This will let you drill down from the news item into the context for that news. In short, we have created the ultimate one-stop tax reference source."

The e-mail service can also be customised, so that, for instance, a tax partner with an international firm can ask to be messaged straight after an announcement, while an accountant working in a much smaller firm can choose to be told once or twice a day.

Nor is it just tax specialists who need to keep up to date. As Sally Harper, head of GEE's human resources department, says, e-mail can help employers across the board avoid the potentially expensive pitfalls created by new legislation.