"Unlike other creditors, the IRS has no legal obligation to take you to court before seizing your car, home or paycheck. Similarly, you can lose your business, bank accounts and even your pension in the blink of an eye." This chilling reminder of the IRS's far-reaching powers comes from Stand Up to the IRS (Nolo Press, 800-992-6656, 1992, $19.95), a book by San Francisco tax lawyer Fred Daily. Daily dissects such deadly topics as tax collection and audits in a lively, easy-to-under-stand way. Chapters that are particularly useful to sole proprietors and small businesses: "Winning Your Audit"; "Appealing Your Audit"; "When You Owe the IRS"; and "Small Businesses."

The book is full of fascinating facts on payroll taxes and independent-contractor status, and useful sidebars, such as "How to Make Installment Agreement Payments" and "Defending Your Expenses to the Revenue Officer." In addition to a list of alternative sources of help, the book includes a glossary of IRS terms, a list of addresses and phone numbers of state income-tax authorities, and sample IRS forms.

-- Ellyn E. Spragins