[The following is a guest post from my long-time editor and good friend Deke Castleman. Deke knows as much about Marissa’s and my tax book as anyone, so, since I’m probably a bit prejudiced about its value, I asked him to review it for the readers of this blog.]
Review by Deke Castleman
Sure, I’ve been Jean Scott’s editor since The Frugal Gambler was first published in 1998 (and even long before that). And yes, I work for the company that publishes Tax Help for Gamblers, so I have an interest in seeing it sell well. But the down-and-dirty fact of the matter is this: Taxes are a bitch, and they’re especially complex, vague, ambiguous, and even contradictory — in short, open to individual interpretation — for anyone who gambles. And there isn’t another book on the market today that covers gambling tax issues as accurately and in as much depth as Tax Help for Gamblers.
And I’m here to tell you that perhaps no lay taxpayer in the U.S. knows more about gambling and taxes than Jean Scott does. Tax Help for Gamblers started as a possible chapter in More Frugal Gambling (2003), but it was decided that the subject was so complex and there were so many details that it needed to have a book of its own. That was over 10 years ago and Jean has been doing research on the subject ever since, with periodic updates to keep gamblers current on IRS matters. She brought Marissa Chien onboard as a co-author to help with the technical information since she is both an Enrolled Agent and also a gambler herself.
This 3rd edition includes all the basic information that has been presented in earlier editions but incorporates many changes and updates. Jean, as usual, wants to help the new gambler who is just beginning to deal with tax issues – handling W2-G’s, recordkeeping, etc. But she realizes the old hands need to know the tax changes that will affect their reporting. She addresses the issues that face both the recreational and the professional gambler, no matter what game they play, whether in bricks-and-mortar casinos or in cyberspace. There is even a whole chapter especially for the poker player. Here is a list of some of the new material in this third edition:
- Current tax and legal issues for online gambling, including state-approved Internet-based casinos
- How to deal with wins from fantasy sports betting
- A new court ruling that allows professional gamblers to deduct business expenses in excess of loss limitations
- A new ability to request tax documents (W-2Gs, 1099s, etc.) online
- Stricter rules for casinos in tracking the source of gamblers’ money
- Increased pressure on offshore financial institutions to reveal records of U.S. citizens
- Numerous changes in how states handle gambling figures for state income taxes (completely updated state-by-state list)
- Big court cases that support the “session” method of reporting gambling income
- Federal 2014 tax forms used for examples
Following the strong trend in publishing, this title is offered only as an e-book. As such, it is immediately accessible to download and has a very frugal price – $7.99. It can be ordered through iTunes, for the Kindle at http://www.amazon.com/Tax-Help-Gamblers-Poker-Casino-ebook/dp/B00SJVGEA2, and for the Nook at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tax-help-for-gamblers-2015-edition-jean-scott/1121099157?ean=2940149948819.
I’m sure I don’t need to start making comparisons between the minimal price of Tax Help for Gamblers and how much money in taxes the book can potentially save any gambler. Nor do I need even to mention how much trouble the IRS can introduce into the life of a taxpayer who doesn’t know the gambling ropes.