Strictly speaking, tax shelters are investments that offer individuals the chance to create assets using dollars that otherwise would go to the IRS. But less than half of this informed and informative guide is devoted to smart-money deals of this ilk. The rest, in relentlessly breezy fashion, covers the tax-tip waterfront--from municipal bonds (whose interest is exempt from federal levies); through oft-overlooked deductions (e.g., unreimbursed expenses for property damage resulting from sonic booms or payments to a bodyguard ""if you receive a kidnap threat""); to income averaging, joint filing, individual retirement programs, self-incorporation, trusts, estate planning, and other dandy loopholes. Eventually, though, Ober (a tax pro at a Wall Street brokerage house) gets down to shelter cases. Of necessity, he treats this complex subject in somewhat general terms; shelter commitments must be tailored to personal financial needs, and tax law as well as the judicial decisions validating or abrogating it can change rapidly. Nonetheless, Ober manages to hit the high spots, explaining, among other things, the mechanics of limited partnerships (the most common form of shelter vehicle), depreciation calculations, and other basic concepts that alchemically convert hazardous speculations into tax-advantaged investments. Further, he reviews the pros and cons of the principal marketplace opportunities--notably, real estate, oil and gas drilling, equipment leasing, and agricultural ventures. Particularly helpful are his savvy directions for reading between the lines of offering prospectuses and by-the-numbers case studies illustrating how shelters can work out under varying circumstances. Ober also distinguishes between conservative and high-risk plays including, in the latter category, Broadway shows, a field in which angels should fear to tread. So far as true shelters are concerned, his text doesn't compare in thoroughness to McQuown's Tax Shelters That Work (1979). But as inflation and the growing number of two-paycheck households push more families into upper-income brackets, the author's amiable advisories represent a worthwhile, deductible addition to taxpayer defenses.