J.K.Lasser’s ‘Your Income Tax’ series has been helping millions of taxpayers for 70 years. In fact, 2007 is the 70th year for this informative and helpful tax law guide. The reason for its popularity is the fact that J.K.Lasser’s ‘Your Income Tax’ takes the complex IRS Tax Code and explains it in easy to understand terms. Readers do not have to be trained in accounting or the tax law to comprehend what is being written. Plus, rules and regulations are applied to real-life situations. There are, however, many other reasons for its popularity. Here are some:
It is easy to find information. If I’m interested in an itemized deduction, for instance, all I need to do is flip to the index. The index is well written, comprehensive, and easy to read. If I don’t want to use the index, I can just as easily flip to the Table of Contents. Here, subject areas are broken down per chapter. It is very easy to find what I am looking for. Plus, subject areas in the Table of Contents are separated with a heavy, thick line. Nice. Each chapter contains Parts, subparts, topic subject, and page number. It is very easy to find what I am looking for.
Updates. I can be updated about current tax developments and tax law changes. In addition to being in the guide, if a tax law was still in Congress at the time the book was taken to the publisher, there will be a section describing the proposed tax law. Plus, I can receive a free e-supplement from J.K.Lasser’s website. Here, there are also links to the IRS and state tax forms.
Reference Form. What is really nice about J.K.Lasser is the fact that the front of the book contains a Form 1040 with reference numbers to the applicable sections of the tax guide. How easy is that? For instance, if I am interested in ‘Residential energy credits’, I just look on the Form and see that section 25.20 applies. That is a very helpful and time-saving feature.
How To Use. There also is a ‘How to Use’ guide in the front of the book. It contains various icons located throughout the book, along with the explanations. The icons consist of Filing Tips, Planning Reminder (for tax planning), Caution (tax areas of concern to the IRS), Law Alert (what’s happening in Congress tax-wise), Court Decision (key rulings by the Tax Court and other federal courts), and IRS Alerts (key rulings and announcements). These icons are found throughout the 2007 tax guide alongside the applicable subject areas. Once again, the explanations are well-presented, easy to find, and easy to understand.
Tax planning. This Guide also helps with tax planning. There is an entire two sections of subject areas that apply to different taxpayers. There’s Tax Planning (gift and estate, household employment tax, military, i.e.) and Business Tax Planning. By reading this section, I can see how a tax law can help with my current and future financial picture. The section titled ‘Income or Loss From Your Business or Profession’ is especially informative.
Filing status. It’s easy to figure out what filing status to use when preparing tax returns. The section on this is very comprehensive and well-presented.
It’s easy to see the requirements and thresholds for filing different Form 1040s. By reading “Choosing Which Tax Form to File” I know what is included in a Form 1040EZ, Form 1040A, and Form 1040. I can easily see what applies to me. The information is super easy to understand.
Checklist. The checklist that breaks itemized deductions into deductible and nondeductible is especially helpful.
There is so much information in this tax guide, a short article just skims the surface. After all, J.K. Lasser ‘Your Income Tax 2007’ is a 800-plus page book. It covers everything a taxpayer could possibly want to gain a better comprehension of the IRS tax laws and how they apply to individual situations.
The only drawback to the J.K. Lasser ‘Your Income Tax 2007’ is the fact that sometimes the verbiage still is rather confusing. Upon wanting information on a tax subject, I ended up just reading what seemed like the IRS Code. The information in the Guide was not well-deciphered. I got done reading a couple of tax sections in this guide and went, “WHAT??!!” The reason for this is the fact that J.K.Lasser’s tax guide is edited by attorneys.