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Aggressive tax avoidance for real estate investors thoughts after 41 years of that book

Posted by John Reed on

Every year, I get inquiries about when my next edition of Aggressive Tax Avoidance for Real Estate Investors will come out. It is now in its 20th edition. 
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I don’t know. General tax books come out annually because there are always court decisions and new regulations, letter rulings and inflation adjustments to parts of the Internal Revenue Code. I originally thought my book would come out annually and it did for a number of years after it first came out at the beginning of the Reagan Administration.
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However, there came a year when there were no new real estate tax laws or court decisions. My book store distributor wanted a new edition. So I made a new edition where I just rewrote the book improving everything: diagrams, tables, explanations.
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I got complaints from customers that there were no new laws so they did not need a new book. So I learned to not do a new edition until tax laws pertaining to real estate investors happened.
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Obama promised change every day in his campaign in 2008. Jay Leno did a skit about it where he wore one of those belt stadium vendor devices that makes change, i.e. dispenses pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters.
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So how many new editions during the eight years of the Obama administration? Zero. Obama was all talk, no action.
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Then Trump came in. He passed a big new law his first year that mostly took effect in 2018. I came out with the 20th edition which says at the bottom of the front cover that it includes Trump’s new tax law.
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Then came Biden pledging “transformative” change that was really gonna sock it to the rich, which includes real estate investors.
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The concrete results of all that? Zilch.
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All my books are paperbacks except my novel The Unelected President which is hard cover and my tax book which is comb-bound. In other words I make the tax books one at a time. Hand-made by the author. The reason I did not have a book manufacturer print them is I did not want to get stuck with a bunch of obsolete books due to Biden’s “transformative” new laws.
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It now looks like there will be no change in real estate investment tax laws in the foreseeable future. Therefore, there will be no new edition of my book in the foreseeable future. There cannot be. 
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It actually costs me more to make the comb-bound book. It has the virtue that it lies flat when open and that you can fold the open book all the way around so that it can be used like a clipboard.
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General tax books about all tax law have annual editions. A tax book about individual real estate investors only has new editions when tax law related to individual real estate investors changes. The last time that happened was 2017.
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By the way, my book is essentially mandatory reading. Am I saying that to gin up sales? Greater sales will not perceptibly affect my life. YOUR reading it if you are a real estate investor IS likely to significantly change YOUR life. I have two close friends who saved millions of dollars literally from the book.
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Aggressive Tax Avoidance For Real Estate Investors, 20th edition book
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One was the late Leigh Robinson, author of the book Landlording. When the first edition came out, he said it was “seminal.” He also fired his long-term accountant and started doing the taxes of some of his friends and relatives.
He actually was the guy who got me to write books. Before him, I just did newsletters. When he started to do delayed exchanges the way I said he wrote that it saved him millions and worked just like I said and he heard not a peep from IRS about it.
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Another was a college classmate who also exchanged.
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Another thing in the book got me an $8,000 refund. When I told about it in my then newsletter, a reader said he also got an $8,000 refund using it.
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My 1988 tax return, the one where I got the $8,000 refund and where I did an exchange out of one apartment building into two new ones, was the subject of a TCMP audit. That is Taxpayer Compliance Measurement Program. It is the one where they audit every single line of your return. You have to prove you are married and show birth certificates of your kids—everything.
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The IRS auditor read my tax book as part of the audit. She said she liked it and said she learned a lot from it. During the audit, she would say things like, “Prove this plumbing expense.” All plumbing for a year on an apartment building. I would hand her a pocket folder marked “Cottonwoods plumbing 1988.”
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She would dump it out on the table and add up all the receipts and they would match the total I had entered on the return.
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After that happened a bunch of times, she said, “This is fun.” “How so?” I asked. “Normally, I never lay eyes on a taxpayer. I just meet their accountant and the accountants answer every question with ‘I don’t know. I’ll have to get back to you.’”
The audit felt like she and I were high-school students told by the teacher to work as a team on a big assignment. It was fun for me, too.
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Regarding the $8,000 refund I got before the audit, the auditor said, “I never heard of that part of the tax law.” She asked her boss. He told it her it was legit, and she told me that at our next session.
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The result of the audit of that 28-page, I think, return was “No Change.” I also got a letter of commendation from the IRS. https://johntreed.com/.../letter-of-commendation-from-the...
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And after the statute of limitations on their ability to change their mind ran out, but the statute on my ability to change my mind had not, I filed a Form 1040X Amended return for 1988 and got a substantial additional refund on stuff I noticed during the audit.
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My Aggressive Tax Avoidance for Real Estate investors book is likely to save a real estate investor who has not read it thousands and has saved many tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, and millions. Many an accountant has lost a client when that client read my book and asked the accountant, “Why didn’t you do this or this or this etc.?” and got no good answer.
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When confronted with my book’s advice, the typical accountant says, “I never heard of that.” Then my reader says, “Well, he gives a citation here of where this law is.” The accountant takes a law book off the shelf, looks up the citation, and says, “I’ll be damned.”
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Many lawyers and accountants have bought my book to practice out of it. When I taught a seminar on it, lawyers and accountants were in the audiences. It is a rare book that, on the one hand, is written to laymen in laymen’s language but it also gives all the legal citations to the pertinent law, ruling, court decision, regulation so professionals can use it.
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