The Hi-tech investor: Flexible home loans on-site

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The Independent Online
A flexible mortgage is an increasingly popular way to buy a home. It calculates interest on a daily basis and allows overpayments. A true flexible mortgage also lets home-owners increase their debt; some even work as bank accounts.

The Flexemortgage site lets visitors pick a sample loan and see the impact of regular overpayments, borrowing back, or paying in a lump sum over 25 years.

If visitors request a quotation from Flexemortgage, the company promises to provide a selection of no-obligation illustrations electronically.

n www.flexemortgage.co.uk

Fund guidance

The debate over active fund management versus tracker funds rumbles on. One of the best resources on the net for an analysis of fund performance is index-tracking.co.uk. This is a report compiled by financial analysts the WM Company. The document looks at the figures for both types of fund, and adds some clear explanations and performance graphs. Reading the guide will not settle the arguments over fund management once and for all, but it is required reading for anyone who is thinking about using an ISA allocation to buy a unit trust.

n www.index-tracking.co.uk

Less taxing

Last year 800,000 people were fined for failing to submit their tax returns on time. Tax return software can help, and may even save tax.

Microsoft's first personal tax software program, TaxSaver99, will be in the shops this week. The package is easy to use and contains a wealth of other information, including 50 articles giving tax advice. Microsoft has worked with accountants KPMG to provide the help files and guides, and the program was developed entirely in the UK.

TaxSaver will cost pounds 24.99, but should be seen as an annual purchase; Microsoft says it will be rewriting the program each year to take account of changes.

The package provides help at each stage, as well as reproducing the Inland Revenue's guidance notes. Once users have answered all TaxSaver's questions, the program checks the return, calculates the tax due, and prints out a copy of the tax return. The Revenue accepts returns printed by the program, so there is no need to copy the information on to the official Revenue form.

n www.microsoft.com/uk

n Stephen Pritchard can be contacted by e-mail at hi-tech-investor@dial.pipex.com

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