Book Review – Taxes Made Simple: Income Taxes Explained in 100 Pages or Less

  • Piper, M. (2018). Taxes made simple: Income taxes explained in 100 pages or less. Simple Subjects, LLC.
  • Category: Taxes
  • Recommended Financial Literacy Level: [Novice]
  • Recommended Audience: 
    • Anyone interested in either learning how to file their taxes or learn more about how to reduce their tax burden (effective tax rate).

I’ve filed my own taxes (using tax software for convenience compared to the paper forms) for about six years now. Mike Piper and I agree that there are huge benefits in learning the basics of filing your taxes. I know there were for me. Not only did I save money by not hiring out, but I also learned how to maximize the ROI of my investments and lower my overall tax burden. I am confident reading his book and/or using google/forums as you file on your own will allow you to make more informed decisions about your financial planning, which will, in most cases, also result in a lowering your effective tax rate.

His book is very well written to define/explain terminology and introductory concepts to even the most uninformed tax filers; furthermore, he provides relatable examples consistently throughout the book to aid in your understanding. See below for the table of contents:

  • Introduction – Is this the right book for you? Why bother learning this stuff?
  • Part One – Basic Concepts
    • Chapter 1 – Income Tax: It’s Progressive
    • Chapter 2 – Deductions and Credits: What’s the Difference?
    • Chapter 3 – Calculating Your Refund
  • Part Two – Taxable Income and Taxable Gains
    • Chapter 4 – Taxable Income
    • Chapter 5 – Capital Gains and Losses
  • Part Three – Important Deductions and Credits
    • Chapter 6 – Saving for Retirement: IRAs and 401(k)s
    • Chapter 7 – Other Important Deductions
    • Chapter 8 – Important Credits
    • Chapter 9 – Tax Breaks for Education Expenses
  • Part Four – Other Important Things to Know
    • Chapter 10 – Tax Forms
    • Chapter 11 – State Income Taxes
    • Chapter 12 – Alternative Minimum Tax
  • Conclusion – Do it Yourself or Get Help from a Professional?

Jack’s Biggest Takeaway:

We are interested in increasing the real-estate portion of our [portfolio] at some point through the purchasing of rental property. I did not realize that passive income (rental income as an example) is not subject to Social Security and Medicare Tax. Additionally, Mike Piper described some of the common deductions/credits associated with rental properties that I was not yet aware of.

Final Thoughts:

Do you NEED to read Mike Piper’s book to successfully file your taxes? Nope. Is it a great resource? Absolutely! Like I mentioned before, I’ve filed my own taxes for six years now and still learned from his book; furthermore, as a teacher myself, I feel like Mike does a great job breaking down a subject that is often daunting for people. Another great advantage of his book is it’s updated regularly to reflect tax code changes. Consider adding it to your own library or purchasing/sharing it with a friend that has been on the fence about deciding whether or not file their own taxes or is just curious about how to reduce their effective tax rate.

If you’d like to support our mission and are interested in purchasing Taxes Made Simple, please click here for your purchase! 

Have you read Taxes Made Simple? What are your thoughts, likes/dislikes, and biggest takeaways? Comment below!

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