Top Books About Tax Preparation and Tax Planning

A handful of tax preparation books are published every year to help people prepare their returns. They cover new tax law changes and provide instructions for the often dreaded task of submitting that tax return, complete with answers to all the questions most people have. They offer valuable tips for planning your finances with an eye toward minimizing your tax obligation.

These books are all easy to understand, and they comprehensively cover their topic. They're well-organized so that you can quickly find the information you're looking for. Basically, they're the best tax books out there.

J.K. Lasser's 'Your Income Tax'

This book is a comprehensive, well organized, and easy-to-read reference guide for preparing a federal income tax return. It makes it easy to find information on specific tax topics, and the pages are designed for ease of reading, so you can find your information quickly. I like it because the explanations are easy to understand. It contains the best explanation of the alternative minimum tax I've ever read.

J.K. Lasser updates this book every year, and it's available on Kindle as well as in traditional format. The 2018 edition for the 2017 tax year is available as of October 2017. 

J.K. Lasser also publishes some more focused tax guides, such as those specifically for small businesses and for taxpayers dealing with retirement and estate-planning concerns. He offers a professional edition, as well as "1001 Deductions and Tax Breaks" if you're specifically looking for this kind of information. 

Jeff Schnepper's 'How to Pay Zero Taxes'

Jeff Schnepper's book 'How to Pay Zero Taxes' is a comprehensive guide to tax deductions and tax credits. Just as the subtitle promises, this book covers "every tax break the IRS allows."

The focus of this book is on tax planning. Schnepper advocates a solid approach: Shift taxable income into nontaxable income or shift taxable income to family members in lower income-tax brackets. You might also be able to increase your tax deductions and your tax credits. Schnepper excels in the discussion of various tax shelters, and he offers his opinions on which shelters are better and which you might want to avoid. The author has a knack for recounting news stories and tax-related quotations, which makes the book enjoyable to read.

This book is also updated yearly, and it's available on Kindle as well as in traditional format. The version for the 2018 edition is available the first week of December 2017. 

'EY Tax Guide'

EY stands for Ernst and Young LLP, the global leader in tax advisory services. "EY Tax Guide" provides comprehensive information on federal income taxes for individuals in a well-organized and highly readable format. The wealth of tips, insights, and tax-planning ideas provided by the Ernst and Young experts is the strength of this tax guide. Sections of the book cover special tax strategies for expatriates, nonresident aliens, ​estate and gift tax planning, and how to handle an IRS audit. The individual tax organizer is particularly useful.

"EY Tax Guide" is updated annually to reflect tax law changes, and it includes specific time-sensitive recommendations for homeowners, the self-employed, and senior citizens. It's available on Kindle and in the traditional format. "EY Tax Guide 2018" for the 2017 tax year is available as of mid-November 2017. 

Other Options

These are just a few of many very good tax books out there. These happen to be my favorites, but the list of good tax books is by no means finite because more are introduced each year. Another popular choice is the "U.S. Master Tax Guide" offered by CCH Tax Law Editors. Browse online or at your local bookstore for recent publications, but you won't go wrong starting with these three books and related publications by the authors.