03/20/1989 at 01:00 AM EST
The only true step-by-step guides are the large-format paperbacks reviewed below. All six offer vast stores of reliable information. All include sample IRS forms, and all are amply indexed (nobody, obviously, is going to read one of these babies straight through). Yet there are few subjects that all six books treat the same way. Imagine, for example, that you had property damaged by last summer's drought and you want to know if you're entitled to a loss deduction. Each guide puts a different spin on the answer (see below)—and that's typical. Bottom line: If you decide to go the book route, buy at least two. Don't put all your exemptions in one basket.