Sunday, 25 February 2007

Book Review: KPMG's Tax Planning for You and Your Family

This book has been a repeat purchase for me for a number of years and I note that the publisher Thomson Carswell has the 2007 available for ordering on its website. The topic coverage extends to pretty well all the common individual/family taxpayer situations, as can be seen on the above website, which displays the whole table of contents. The book can serve as both a reference manual to be used when a specific topic needs to be explored and a more general guide to be read for discovering new ideas that could be beneficial. In its 370-odd pages, the book covers a wide range of tax and financial topics and has been extremely useful to this do-it-yourself financial manager over the years. I would characterize it as addressing the intermediate to advanced level DIY person, though any intelligent beginner who is willing to read carefully could benefit. As much as the topic coverage, its usefulness stems from the presentation. The text is rife with appropriate references to other sections of the book where exceptions, special conditions and corollary information can influence what one should do. Each chapter has a list of pertinent CRA forms, bulletins and other documents that can save a lot of time poking around CRA's website. The Index is lengthy enough at about 18 pages to be a prime search tool. Since even DIY has its limits, the book inserts warnings when some action is so tricky or involved (usually it relates to legal matters and setting something up properly so one doesn't get caught out later) that expert professional advice is advisable, though I would say the book errs a little on the cautious side with such warnings. The writing style is direct, grammatical, logical and precise - just what is required to understand and take action. There are realistic mini scenarios with numbers to illustrate trickier points. All through the text there are suggestions for what a taxpayer can do to minimize taxes.

In summary, short of becoming a tax lawyer or an accountant, this is the most comprehensive, detailed and understandable book I've found for a serious DIY financial person.

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