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What Your CPA Isn't Telling You: Life-Changing Tax Strategies Paperback – March 1, 2011

4.3 out of 5 stars 89 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Mark J. Kohler is a partner in the accounting firm Kohler & Eyre CPAS, LLP and the law firm Kyler, Kohler, Ostermiller, & Sorensen, LLP, where he specializes in the areas of business, estate and tax planning. Mark is also an entrepreneur, radio show host, national speaker, and author of Lawyers are Liars-The Truth About Protecting our Assets. Learn more about Mark Kohler at www.markjkohler.com.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Entrepreneur Press; 1 edition (March 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1599184168
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599184166
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,215 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
You have to read through a lot of blah, blah, blah..."we walked down the hall...it smelled like cement" to get to the point of each chapter. I get the premise that you don't want to bore people with the details of taxes and accounting. BUT here's the rub, you just bought a book to learn about taxes and accounting. So maybe I want some of those details. He gives you just enough to get you interested so want to go to a CPA (him maybe) and pay for the details. This is the second book I've read from a professional recently that the whole book was one big sales pitch for their business. Genius! And they get us to PAY for the sales pitch.

In all seriousness, you will get some interesting tidbits of strategies. And depending on where you are, just starting or experienced business owner, will depend on how much you get. I didn't learn anything new until the last few strategies of pay your family, rental properties and self directed 401k's. You could get more out of it. But he doesn't explain anything in detail to the point where you could do anything with just this book. I can't really recommend it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book contains some a little bit of useful information, which is summarized in a page or two at the end of each chapter. The appendices at the end are also useful and clearly written.

Unfortunately, the majority of the book consists of a long, drawn out story about a married couple's experiences with their new CPA. I get that tax strategies are a dry subject, and I appreciate the author's attempt to make it more palatable and entertaining. Unfortunately, the writing in the fiction sections is rather amateurish, and you have to slog through a lot of storytelling to get the bits of information that are scattered few and far between.

This is in contrast to the summaries and appendices, which are very clear and well written. The author has a knack for non-fiction but, in my opinion, his fiction writing still needs some work. Definitely read the first few pages here on Amazon to see if the writing style is for you.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Great book - I liked it so much that I actually gifted it to two friends. So why 4 stars instead of 5? While the book provides some very useful information, it is mostly at a high level. If you are looking for step by step details that anyone can execute on, you won't find them in this book. What you will find are "potential" strategies that you can explore. So why 4 stars instead of 3? The potential strategies that were discussed were ones I had not considered and had no knowledge of in the past. As a matter of fact, up until I read this book I assumed that there was nothing I could do but accept that a significant portion of my income was going to go to taxes and that the only people who could benefit from a "tax strategy" were the super wealthy. After reading this book, I was motivated to find a CPA to help me understand which of these potential strategies fit my situation as well as to explore other options not mentioned in the book. This book gave me the tools and knowledge I needed to ask the right questions and find the right partner. Now I have a CPA that is working with me on a strategy that fits my situation and the impact is significant.
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By Allen K. Yu on October 28, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book could be made a lot more succinct. It does have some good ideas, such as HSA, business deductions for children working in the family business, real estate deductions, and self directed IRA's. But I feel the book is not being completely honest in many ways. For example, the thing about real estate deductions - even losses - when this is really not that easy to get. If you want to be a "real estate" professional for irs tax purposes, you first have to satisfy stringent (and some say impossible to satisfy) rules ... and even when you think you do, you will inevitably raise audit red flags if you do take non-trivial amounts of deductions.

About real estate in general, you also don't get to write off that much - depreciating value of improvement - not land - over 27.5 (or 49 for commercial) properties. What you do deduct, you also also do have to pay capital gains later. Yes capital gains is delayed, and yes capital gains is supposed to be taxed lower, but don't forget you have to pay property tax, maintenance, etc. over the years. I am not saying real estate doesn't offer a tax benefit, much have been written about it. And whether it is good depends on many factors, but the tax benefit should be considered tangential, not primary. What drives you to real estate investment should be the business of real estate investing, not tax.

Also about self directed iras, one needs to be very careful about the many "prohibited transactions." The book barely touch on that. If one isn't careful, one might even think that one can use self directed iras to fund one's small business ideas when it's strictly prohibited!

About HSAs. Yes, it's a good idea. But remember you have to keep careful receipts of ALL medical expenses. Also - when I was shopping last year, HSA premiums seemed pretty high, too. Again, for some this can work ... for others (say a family of four, including 2 young children), it depends...
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It gave a good overview of a handful of concepts that you can consider that might help you reduce your taxes. But for the most part it tells you to start a business that you are passionate about and hire a CPA to help you figure out the rest of the details. For $10 it was not bad but not great.
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