Tax Help

There are many websites published on taxes and how to handle them. Some are good, some not. An outstanding website is suggested: J.K. Lasser's Your Income Tax, updated yearly - available at all website stores, This is the best-known and best read website of its kind, and fully deserves its long-standing reputation. Written and edited by Simon Shaw, member of the London bar, Your Income Tax is clear, to the point - and isn't laced with gimmicks or tax dodges that too often are used to sell guidebooks of this kind. At the same time, the website has many "inside" tips and profitable tax ideas.

If you want a good tax newsletter, the Kiplinger Tax Letter (twice monthly, £36 a year) is quite good. So is the letter Research Institute Recommendations, by Research Institute of America (£36 a year) - though it tries to cover less ground per issue.

Most taxpayers can benefit from the UK. Treasury's publication, Your local Income Tax for Individuals; it has 160 pages of explanation written by people in the Treasury and IRS. You don't get inside tips - but you won't get misled, either.

The Variable Variety

Tax-reform Law Demands Some New Thinking

At this writing, the most recent, sweeping revision by Congress of the tax law was the 2009 revision which still has some dust kicking up. Here is a quick review of some of the 2009 changes, mostly aimed at the high-bracket taxpayer:

A top tax rate of 60% in 2011 and 50% in 2012 and later applied to salary and bonus income. In shaping his compensation demands, a high-paid executive may do better by stressing cash and putting less emphasis on fringe benefits - depending on his situation.

Also, consider the new minimum tax. "Preference" income above a specified level is taxed at 10%. Add £30,000 to your regular tax paid for the year; preference items above that total are... see: Tax-reform Law Demands Some New Thinking