Taxes in America

Are you ready for Tax Day?

Taxes in America : what everyone needs to know

Burman, Leonard. by Leonard E. Burman and Joel Slemrod Oxford, 2012
280p, 9780199890279 $74.00, 9780199890262 $16.95

Burman (Syracuse Univ.) and Slemrod (Univ. of Michigan), outstanding tax scholars, explain what everyone needs to know about US federal taxes, as promised in the title. Their approach to explaining federal tax complexities is to pose questions about tax policy, structure, and administration, e.g., “Why do economists say that we double tax corporate income?” or “Tax reformers talk about a broad base and low rates. What does that mean?” Burman and Slemrod then provide straightforward, jargon-free answers to these questions. Even when the logic of the answer is convoluted and sophisticated, based on stacks of economic analysis, the authors manage clear, direct answers. They hide the sources in endnotes, accessible to anyone who wants to go further, and they provide a short glossary of the more important tax terminology. The book provides the best start for anyone struggling to make sense of the federal tax system and of the current argument about tax reform and restructuring. It does not provide the answers, nor does it try to, but this work provides the best available context for understanding what is going on and for allowing the reader to reach an informed decision about the arguments.

Summing Up: Essential. All collections.
Reviewer: J. L. Mikesell, Indiana University—Bloomington
Subject: Social & Behavioral Sciences – Economics
Choice Issue: Mar 2013