STRASSELS' TAX SAVERS by Paul N. & William B. Mead Strassels


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Because of the many transient features of the internal Revenue Code, income tax self-helpers are a bit like an oriental meal; soon after you've digested one, you'll want another. This year's up-to-date entry by former IRSnik Strassels and partner promises to be sustaining fare, given no major revamping of the system. The ""tax savers"" enumerated are not secret--income averaging, rolling over the proceeds of the sale of a home into a new one to avoid a tax on the gain, IRAs, sensible timing of gains and losses--but, as the authors note, the IRS won't remind you of them. And with all there is in the book, it has lapses too. There's nothing on how to turn the feared alternative minimum tax to advantage or on the benefits of installment sales. Other than insulin, nonprescription drugs no longer qualify as deductions. And how many mom and pop operations will take a deduction for a weekend at a resort for a business conference, on the authors' advice? The heart of the book, moreover, is divided into separate chapters dispensing counsel to singles, divorced taxpayers, homeowners, retired folk, investors, and others. That organization makes a certain outward sense, but an earnest reader is sometimes obliged to search through fractionalized treatment of tax topics for the whole story. The rules regarding home offices, for example, are found in at least three different chapters and pension planning pops up throughout the breezy text. Yet, despite the occasional lacunae and sometimes awkward organization, the book is valuable for its common sense and usually sound advice. ""We recommend,"" say the authors, ""that you avoid illegal tax protest and abusive shelters."" Along with all the tax savers, that's the kind of talk that bears repetition.

Pub Date: Jan. 22nd, 1984
Publisher: Times Books