YOUR MONEY: HELP

GIVEN that problems often arise, many people hand it all over to the experts.

Accountants can range from the one-man band, through the small high street firm to one of the top international companies. The cheaper services can start at pounds 120 for someone with no real tax complications. Some firms will quote an hourly rate of around pounds 50 to pounds 100.

Larger firms are likely to charge higher rates, and if you want advice beyond completing the return, your accountant's fees could be substantial.

The Revenue is adamant that many people do not need to pay for advice: your inspector is there to help. It also produces explanatory leaflets on specific issues.

Further help is available from books. Longman publishes the Allied Dunbar Tax Handbook and the Allied Dunbar Capital Taxes and Estate Planning Guide. Orion publishes the J Rothschild Assurance Tax Guide. Blackwell Business offers the Equitable Life Tax Guide. Others include Which? Way to Save Tax, from Hodder & Stoughton, and Tolley's Tax-Guide. But beware of one drawback with all of these books: those now in the shops are for the 1995/1996 tax year.

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