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Taking time for a literary tax break

There's more to us tax geeks than just the Internal Revenue Code. When we tire of thumbing through Title 26, we go to movies, watch television and even read books.

The_Pale_King_Wallace_IRS_bookIn recognition of how well-rounded tax folks are, I want to recommend for your reading pleasure David Foster Wallace's posthumous novel "The Pale King."

Today is a particularly fitting time to note this book. Feb. 21 would have been Wallace's 52nd birthday.

So what's the book about, you ask. Boredom. The tedium theme is understandable thanks to Wallace setting much of the book in an IRS office.

Other tax tomes: If that doesn't sound like your cup of tax-time tea, how about "Innocent Spouse." In the memoir, Carol Ross Joynt recounts how after the death of her husband, she discovered she was on the hook for his $3 million tax problem.

Or if you're a fan of crime stories, check out "Uncle Al Capone." Scarface's niece Deirdre Marie Capone argues that her infamous relative was railroaded by the IRS.

OK, insert your tax geek reading list joke here.

Still, these three books show that we who focus on taxes can venture outside our world, albeit not very far.

So if you have time now, give the books a glance. I must admit that I have a copy of "The Pale King," but have yet to read it. Maybe after April 15.

Tax tips for writers: OK, fellow authors. I know what you're thinking.

You didn't click here for Kay's Tax Book Club (although now that you've given me that idea, watch out Oprah!). You came over because the headline implied tax-saving tips for literary leaning occupations.

Well, I don't want to disappoint.

In most cases, writers will have the same tax concerns as any sole proprietorship or small business.

And we claim essentially the same tax write-offs as producers of more tangible products do on Form 1040 Schedule C filings. For an idea of what's available, check out these 10 easy tax deductions for bloggers and other online businesses

There are, however, some special considerations for writers and our ilk. To address them, I recommend my online tax pal Peter Jason Reilly, aka @rileytaxtweets on Twitter.

He's a CPA whose Massachusetts' firm specializes in tax matters that apply to and affect creative people, such as artists, performers, musicians and, yes, writers (and more).

Reilly, himself an author, has developed a handy expense checklist for writers. His website has even more info for those of us who scribble for a living. If you're in one of the creative fields that's always befuddled your parents, give it look.

And with that, I must get back to work on the writing that pays my bills.

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