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Scott M. Estill, Tax This! An Insider's Guide to Standing up to the IRS.

SCOTT M. ESTILL, Tax This? An Insider's Guide to Standing up to the IRS, Second edition (Bellingham, WA: Self-Counsel Press Inc., 2002, pp. xiv, 354, $19.95).

This is the second edition of a book intended by the author to update the rules and procedures on dealing with the IRS.

In the first two chapters of the book, the author discusses the history and organization of the IRS. The author takes us through the filing process, as well as the different business structures and their advantages and disadvantages. He then proceeds in several chapters to describe the audit process and to indicate what taxpayers and practitioners should know about going through an audit. He includes 14 rules of IRS audits, six common issues when one is involved in an audit, and a section on how to defend oneself and win in an audit situation. Overall, these guidelines are highly practical and informative.

The author includes a chapter on IRS penalties, notices, and penalty abatement, and there is a chapter on the IRS collection process and the various options when dealing with the Collection Division. The collection powers (summons, IRS levy, and federal tax lien) are also discussed. There is an interesting and useful chapter on the Offer in Compromise Program (an area of recent Congressional concern) and one chapter on bankruptcy law and the advantages and disadvantages thereof relative to tax matters. The last three chapters include a discussion of the Criminal Investigation Division, fighting the IRS in court, and the Taxpayer Advocate Program.

The book is basic enough that it could be used as a supplementary book for any undergraduate tax course. While it does not go into sufficient depth to serve as a stand-alone book for a graduate tax practice course, the book could provide a useful supplementary book for a combined research and tax practice course provided that supplementary materials were added from journal articles or other sources. Since the book provides no exercises, questions, or problems, if it were to be used in the classroom, professors would be responsible for finding their own assignments. The book is written in a readable style and includes many real-world examples that make for interesting reading.

The book contains numerous charts, tables, samples, tax forms, checklists, bullets, and other aids, all designed to summarize the elements of the sources of federal tax procedures to facilitate the development of tax practice skills. These aids are generally quite helpful in presenting the material and would likely be well received by readers and students.

While some professors in Master's in Taxation programs might argue that more in-depth tax practice material should be included, one could argue that the book contains about the right amount of material for most students and professors, especially if the goal is to reach a wide audience. Appendices contain the IRS Distribution and Service Centers and the IRS District Offices (Taxpayer Advocates).

In summary, I recommend this book for use as a supplementary book in an undergraduate tax course or in a combined graduate tax research and practice course. When students finish the book, they should have a basic knowledge of interesting and relevant tax practice issues, as well as a functional reference tool for dealing with the IRS on routine matters.



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Author:Harmelink, Philip J.
Publication:Journal of the American Taxation Association
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 22, 2004
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