I just finished Julian Block's Tax Tips for Marriage and Divorce. At less, than 25 bucks, it would be a pretty chintzy wedding present, but that wouldn't stop me from giving it to the right person. I'm going to ask Forbes contributor Kelly Erb (a.k.a. Taxgirl) if she would bring a copy to a bridal shower. I think you have to be shameless about being a tax geek in order to blog about the topic, so you might as well go all the way and flaunt your geekiness at a shower.
The book actually goes into more than marriage and divorce. You could really call it the tax aspects of coupling and decoupling, but then someone might thing it has something to do with railroad depreciation.
Overall, Tax Tips is a good read and will alert someone to most of the tax implications of intimate relationships. The author discusses the pro and cons of joint returns, making it clear that filing jointly is not a requirement, although it is often most advantageous. He discusses dependency deductions, including the clever idea of adopting your lover. Of the seven sections covering among other things marriage rules, tax consequences of divorce and home sales, my favorite was Oddball Situations. Mr. Block reviews the tax issues raised by relationships between ladies and generous gentlemen. That material is a little dated, but pretty amusing. It made me think of this song:
The book does not get into community property laws other than to alert you about them and let you know they complicate things. The discussion of the Defense of Marriage Act is useful background for those involved in same sex relationships, but needs updating due to recent decisions. Of course, a book like this is not meant to be and really cannot be used as the sole reference on any issue, but I think even experienced tax practitioners will come away from it having learned something. My recommendation that Tax Tips for Marriage and Divorce would make a good gift for someone contemplating marriage (or divorce) is shared by blogger and Villanova tax law professor James Edward Maule.
Mr. Block has provided me with some guest posts which will be going up as time permits over the next few days. Meanwhile, I'm in Dallas at the Grant Thornton Tax Leadership Conference. It's quite an impressive event for somebody who has never worked for a national firm before. I was really pleased that my old boss Alan Osmolowski and my new boss Don Jeffrey were recognized for the hard work they have been doing in integrating our practices. Grant Thornton's color is purple, which makes the transition real easy for a Holy Cross graduate.
You can follow me on twitter @peterreillycpa.