Tax Strategies of Yesteryear

Use Inflation to Beat the IRSHow you can use inflation to beat the IRS

Believe it or not, I found this book in a public library collection. The number of public libraries still holding this title is quite shocking. As a former accountant, I get some serious palpitations when I find this kind of stuff laying around a public library’s collection.  Anyone with a modicum of knowledge has to know that tax laws change over time. Seriously.

Specifically, two pieces of legislation (that were headlines!) make this book weedable. First, is Economic Recovery Tax Act  (August 1981) and Tax Reform Act of 1986.  This legislation fundementally changed income tax laws that render just about anything published during that time period questionable.  If nothing else, this illustrates perfectly that paying attention to current events does have a direct effect on a library collection.

I swear to Melvil Dewey that if anyone says “someone might need this” to me I might have to hit them with this book. (This is what happens to youth services librarians during the summer. We completely lose our sense of humor.)

I will be in the back breathing deeply if anyone needs me.


Use Inflation to Beat the IRS back cover

Use Inflation to Beat the IRS front flap

Use Inflation to Beat the IRS chart


  1. Do-it-yourself tax accountancy beyond filling out an income tax form sounds like a bad idea under any circumstances. Like being your own lawyer.

    For some reason I think of the audience of this book as the same people who buy gadgets to allegedly give you 75 miles a gallon.

  2. And what the hell is a public library doing with a book on almost-entirely-legal-if-you-squint tax dodging anyway? That’s their federal grant money the library patrons are wriggling out of coughing up.

  3. The people who take out books like these are the ones who gamble on the stock market and then moan and groan about how “their” assets are so bad after a market crash. They are also the ones who have to get “free” help with their taxes at tax time – limited income seniors…

  4. I’m sure there’s some research value for old tax law, but probably not in a public library and its probably limited to the actual tax law.

  5. I have those same thoughts when I see students looking for textbooks in our catalog and they are willing to take a book that is 10 years old. Frightening to think that these same folks will be guiding our future!

    1. I trust all of you are not only paying taxes, but also sending any disposable income/savings to the government — if you have money left over after paying for essentials (food and shelter) then you’re making too much, and your wealth should be redistributed. You should all be getting by on much less — eating less — consuming fewer goods and services. It’s in the collective’s best interest if you suppress your individual aspirations for needless materialism (read: greed) and submit yourselves to the will of the state. \sarc

  6. “But someone might need it!” “If you mean ‘may hopefully want it at the book sale’, then yeah, sure.”

    Also, looking at the back cover, I have to wonder how much of this was legal even in 1981. It has enough of a far-right, tax-protester flavor to it that I’d actually like to see a detailed takedown using the tax laws of the time…

  7. “But we need to keep it just in case!” I have limited patience with “just in case” reasoning, especially in those confused about the difference between a public (circulating) library and a (non-circulating) archive.

    1. Why non-circulating? It’s one thing to say that a public library needs to weed for limited space, and quite another to say that a book should be deliberately kept out of the hands of the general public. I would like for WorldCat to have at least one copy of every book available by ILL, so even if a public library has to get rid of it, it’s still available.

      1. Perhaps I didn’t choose my words as well as I could. I’m not saying that a book should be deliberately kept out of the hands of the general public. I’m saying that as a public, circulating library, the books are intended to, you know, circulate. They’re supposed to serve the information needs of the majority of their user population. That’s why a lack of circulation is a weeding criterion.

        (Also, a non-circulating archive doesn’t keep its books from the general public, it just goes the extra mile to protect remaining copies; due to rarity, age, condition, or value, an archive book doesn’t leave its building, but usually people are very welcome to come and read them. Unless we’re talking about something on the scale of a Gutenberg Bible. And if people can’t make the trip, there’s usually a digital copy to peruse.)

        Certainly in a consortium situation one circulating library (public or academic) could keep a master ILL copy, though from experience in my mid-size academic library I can tell you that with space constraints, most would be reluctant to draw the short straw on a book like this one unless it’s crucial to a curriculum or a special collection.

        And no worries about WorldCat; this book has about 350 copies out in the world and will continue to provide outdated tax information for some time. 🙂

        Now quick – duck before Mary hits you with the book 😉

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