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The Truth About Paying Fewer Taxes Paperback – January 16, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0137153862 ISBN-10: 0137153864 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

All you need to know about cutting your taxes...thisyear andeveryyear!

  • The truth about maximizing all your legal deductions and credits
  • The truth about smart tax planning for today and for the long term
  • The truth about avoiding IRS audits and costly tax penalties


Simply the best thinking



This book reveals 52 PROVEN bite-size, easy tax savings techniques that work.


“Kay Bell's blog aims to provide tax and personal-finance tips and advice that will put more money in your bank account, not the government treasury.”

The Wall Street Journal


Introduction     vii


Part I: The Truth About Filing Requirements

Truth 1: Not everyone has to file     1

Truth 2: Figuring out your filing status     5

Truth 3: Filling out the right form     9

Truth 4: Meeting filing deadlines     13


Part II: The Truth About Taxable Income

Truth 5: Determining what's taxable     17

Truth 6: Earned versus unearned income     21

Truth 7: The alternative minimum tax     25

Truth 8: Our progressive tax system     29


Part III: The Truth About Credits and Deductions

Truth 9: Why credits are better     33

Truth 10: Standard versus itemized deductions     39

Truth 11: Dealing with deduction limitations     43

Truth 12: Maximizing charitable deductions     47

Truth 13: Deducting without itemizing     51


Part IV: The Truth About Taxes and Your Family

Truth 14: Marriage and taxes     55

Truth 15: Innocent and injured spouse issues     59

Truth 16: Tax implications of divorce     63

Truth 17: Claiming exemptions and dependents     67

Truth 18: Adoption assistance     71

Truth 19: Child and additional child tax credits     75

Truth 20: Tax help in caring for your kids (and others)      79

Truth 21: Tax-favored college savings options     83

Truth 22: When a child has to file     87

Truth 23: Taking tax-smart care of a parent     91


Part V: The Truth About Taxes and Your Employment

Truth 24: Getting your withholding right     95

Truth 25: Tax-favored employer-provided benefits     99

Truth 26: Recouping employee business expenses     103

Truth 27: Writing off job-hunting costs     107

Truth 28: Tax help in paying work-related moving costs     111

Truth 29: Self-employment tax considerations     115


Part VI: The Truth About Taxes and Your Home

Truth 30: Mortgage interest deduction     119

Truth 31: Writing off your property taxes     123

Truth 32: Increasing your home's tax basis     127

Truth 33: Home-sale tax exclusion     131


Part VII: The Truth About Investment Taxes

Truth 34: Capital gains rules and rates     135

Truth 35: How bad investments can pay off     139

Truth 36: Reporting investment income     143

Truth 37: Wash sale rules     147

Truth 38: Accounting for the kiddie tax     151


Part VIII: The Truth About Retirement Taxes

Truth 39: Individual retirement accounts     155

Truth 40: Company retirement plans     159

Truth 41: Retirement saver's credit     163

Truth 42: Retirement plan rollovers     167

Truth 43: Taxable Social Security benefits     171

Truth 44: Required minimum distributions     175

Truth 45: Estate taxes, or leaving it to your heirs, not the IRS     179


Part IX: The Truth About Tax Compliance

Truth 46: The trouble with tax protests     183

Truth 47: Payment options     187

Truth 48: Tax penalties     191


Part X: The Truth About Audits

Truth 49: Minimizing audit risks     195

Truth 50: Preparing for an audit     199


Part XI: The Truth About Special Tax Situations

Truth 51: Taxpayers abroad and military filers     203

Truth 52: Tax help in disastrous times     207


Epilogue     211

About the Author     212

About the Author

S. Kay Bell has been writing about taxes for a decade, but following the subject–as a taxpayer, journalist, Congressional staff member, and government relations specialist–for most of her journalism career. After two decades in Washington, DC, including stints on Capitol Hill and with two major multinational corporations, she helped launch the tax channel at the popular personal finance website, She still writes for Bankrate, including the site’s tax blog, Eye on the IRS.


In addition, Bell posts daily at her own personal finance blog, Don’t Mess with Taxes, where The Wall Street Journal praised her ability to effectively put her personal finance advice in a social or historical context. Her writing also appears in numerous mass-circulation publications and websites, including,,, and, and she is regularly interviewed by media outlets ranging from National Public Radio’s “Marketplace” to Yahoo’s “Generation Debt.”



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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: FT Press; 1 edition (January 16, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0137153864
  • ISBN-13: 978-0137153862
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,082,029 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

When I'm working, I'm a freelance writer, specializing in taxes -- keeping Uncle Sam happy and your bank account intact!

When I'm playing, I'm watching sports (Go Cowboys!), doing crossword puzzles, reading mysteries or listening to music, mostly jazz or Texas roots rock.

I'm a native Texan who finally made it back home to the Lone Star State on Cinco de Mayo 2005 after way too many years as a Texpatriate.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By William Perez on March 30, 2009
Format: Paperback
In 52 concise and engaging chapters, author S. Kay Bell covers the basics of federal taxes and how to plan your financial decisions to take advantage of various tax breaks. Unlike a detailed instructional manual, "The Truth about Paying Fewer Taxes," functions more like a road map, guiding you to tax-saving ideas, explaining often complex tax rules.

William Perez, [..]
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By meik1 on March 7, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
This book is mostly basic information about tax, IRS, and related topics. I picked this up free and will keep it as a handy reference. A good overview for filing your tax documents, and for those going through an audit. Some repetitive sentences in the kindle version - maybe headers that are not formatted right.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J. Phifer on March 19, 2009
Format: Paperback
Posted with permission from

"In a world that permits just about anybody to publish his or her assertions about any topic, it's not surprising that we've been bombarded with all sorts of statements concerning taxes and taxation, some accurate and some misleading or downright false. In a world drowning in information, it might seem surprising that many people don't know or understand all that they need to grasp with respect to taxes. In many instances, these folks end up paying more in taxes than they are required to pay.

So it's fortunate for these people that S. Kay Bell, who blogs at Don't Mess With Taxes, and who also is a member of the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel, has come out with a book called, "The Truth About Paying Fewer Taxes."

"The Truth About Paying Fewer Taxes" is not for the tax professional. Anyone claiming to be a tax professional who does not know what Kay explains in the book ought not be claiming that distinction. On the other hand, people who enter into the tax return preparation field when January rolls around, and who haven't been keeping on top of tax law changes, should pick up this book and read. So, too, should people who do their own tax returns and, yes, they exist.

The book's price would pay for several cups of expensive coffee. In other words, for what it delivers, it's a bargain."

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