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Taxes For Dummies


About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating


Easy-to-read, well organized, and thoroughly helpful. I recommend "Taxes for Dummies" to anyone who wants to prepare their own taxes, either by hand or by computer. Excellent advice and strategies for dealing with the IRS. Especially welcome are the line-by-line tips for filling out the shorter 1040-EZ and 1040-A forms.


Table of contents lists each line of the tax form, making information easy to find. Provides instructions for the 1040EZ, 1040A and 1040. (Most books just cover the 1040.) Icons indicate tax-saving tips and warnings to keep you out of trouble. The writers have done an excellent job of turning IRS technical jargon into something we can actually understand.

Taxes for Dummies is book that guides you step by step to dealing with the IRS. If you received a letter from the IRS (and one out of three taxpayers do, according to the book), this book will tell you what the letter means, and how to respond to it. The authors even provide sample letters so you can respond promptly. The exceptionally well-written advice for dealing with the IRS is worth the price of the whole book.

The section on tax planning is well-balanced and sensible. Unique are the authors' tips on how tax planning impacts financial aid for college. Provides sensible tips for finding a tax preparer, including a list of ten questions to ask during your initial interview. Information on reconstructing missing tax records is superb. The authors provide excellent suggestions for substantiating cost basis, business expenses, and fair market value.


Some of the major problems that taxpayers face are given very cursory treatment. For example, clients with losses of any kind (rental income, stock investing, or business) need to keep excellent records to protect themselves. I wish the authors had presented tips for what records to keep to defend their return in an audit situation.

Very Minor Problems:

No book, however comprehensive, can include everything. At particular points, the reader is directed to IRS publications and instructions for further details. A do-it-yourself taxpayer may need instructions and worksheets not found in this book. Also, the book does not include any tax forms, so you will need to obtain them elsewhere (library, post office, on the Internet).
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