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Book review: 'Outsmarting the System' by Anthony C. Campidonica

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Anthony Campidonica's 'Outsmarting the System'

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Today, Hartford Books Examiner reviews Outsmarting the System: Lower Your Taxes, Control Your Future, and Reach Financial Freedom (Sciopress, Inc., $19.95) by Anthony C. Campidonica.

Campidonica has been providing small business consulting since 1998 and tax services since 2001 and is both a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in California and an Enrolled Agent (EA). He also spent more than eight years as an Internal Revenue Agent (tax auditor) for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Outsmarting the System is his first book, and was written with the intent of exposing the strategies that have benefited the rich so that everyday people can reap the same rewards.

The author is operating under the assumption that his readers are looking to achieve financial freedom—or “having enough money saved to support your lifestyle without needing to work.” (In other words, retirement.) The problem, he maintains, is that Americans have been programmed to follow a belief system—college, employment, home ownership, etc.—that often makes financial freedom unattainable, thanks in large part to taxes. The answer, then, is to possess an understanding of lawful tax avoidance (as opposed to unlawful tax evasion).

To start, Campidonica illustrates how a knowledge of deductions and exemptions can significantly lower your taxable income; the goal here is to lower your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) amount, as the higher that rate is, the more you’ll pay in taxes. Then, applicable credits can be applied to further lower your tax liability. Campidonica further makes the case that the solution is to change the way that we make money, and that those individuals who have attained financial freedom can be broken down into three groups of people: investors, landlords, and small business owners.

Though such undertakings may sound beyond the realm of possibility, or unappealing, to some readers, Campidonica methodically explores the benefits of each—and the potential drawbacks, as well, to keep things real. He then offers advice on how to prepare for, and embrace, such ventures—including an extensive list of service businesses for consideration—with the kind of cool-headed logic that may just win over skeptics. Finally, Campidonica offers insights on tax reporting, recordkeeping, and audits, all of which buttress his claim that you, too, can both know and benefit from the secrets of the wealthy.

Credit Campidonica for taking a complex and arguably inaccessible topic and making it both simplistic and engaging. He presents Outsmarting the System in a bare bones approach that informs without overwhelming, and supports his assertions with practical examples, charts, and even interactive exercises that allow the reader to put his or her newfound knowledge to the test. This is a book that you’ll want to consider adding to your collection before next tax season arrives …

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