THE NEW YORK TIMES GUIDE TO MAKING THE NEW TAX LAW WORK FOR YOU by Karen W. Arenson

THE NEW YORK TIMES GUIDE TO MAKING THE NEW TAX LAW WORK FOR YOU

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A series of articles, published in the New York Times, that examines some, but by no means all, of the major provisions of the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 (ERTA). The targeted audience would seem to be upscale individuals interested in statutory changes affecting earned income and savings programs, rather than investments. Covered at length are the new rules permitting all workers to establish Individual Retirement Accounts, and the doubling of deductible contributions that can be made to Keogh Plans by the self-employed. Also: how legally-wed couples filing joint returns can now lighten the burden of the ""marriage penalty""; ways in which working parents can get the most from child-care credits; the conditions necessary for expatriates to obtain writeoffs for taxes paid to host countries; and the breaks to be extended owners of small enterprises--including accelerated depreciation of capital equipment. In addition, Arenson surveys so-called incentive stock options on which no tax liabilities are incurred until the acquired shares are sold (previously, paper gains were taxed as ordinary income upon exercise), and--of course--the one-shot all-savers certificates (whose prospective yields are compared with those available on fully taxable alternatives). On the other hand, Arenson glides quickly over the substantive drop in long-term capital-gains levies, making no secret of her doubts as to its potential for reviving securities markets. And she largely disregards ERTA's implications for commodity futures trading and real estate, as well as other provisions of consequence to investors. What the book does cover, however, it covers well. Each chapter concludes with a half dozen or so questions and answers, which bring to life material incorporated in the basic text (see, for a slightly macabre example, what to do if you have a terminal illness). Arenson also makes good use of the authoritative sources available to a Times byliner, citing their professional opinions on complex issues of tax law and securing exemplary resolutions for what-if problems. For the broader points of ERTA's impact on personal finance, for the measures individuals have to take immediately to fully benefit--just fine. Other, presumably more comprehensive books are, however, already scheduled.

Pub Date: Nov. 9th, 1981
Publisher: Times Books