By Matt Fernandez
Signal Staff Writer
The old adage says nothing is certain but death and taxes, and while mankind has yet to escape the former, Santa Clarita author Christopher Munchhof is doing his best to make the latter a little easier.
“It’s funny because I think taxes should be simpler, but I also see why they’re so complicated,”
Munchhof said. “You want to be fair to everyone, and the only way to make taxation fair is to make it complicated with different deductions and rules to make sure that people are paying the proper amount.”
On Tuesday, Munchhof’s released his self-published first book, “The New Tax Law: 21 Changes You Need To Know Before Filing Your Next Tax Return,” as a physical book and an ebook on Amazon.
Munchhof said he wrote the book because he wanted to make all the new changes to tax laws more understandable and applicable to the public, especially after he saw a survey indicating that the public as a whole did not understand how the changes affected them or even what they were.
“Taxes are already complicated and confusing enough, and there aren’t a lot of big changes that are made to the laws,” Munchhof said. “This year, there are actually hundreds of changes in the law, which is the most there have been in almost 30 years. I have a 1,000-page book on my desk with all the changes because I’m a tax professional, but it doesn’t apply to most people so I wanted to weed out what wasn’t unnecessary.”
Munchhof, a 30-year Santa Clarita resident and owner of the local financial planning firm Free Financial, said that his career in finance started from being a “know-it-all.”
“I liked having the answers to questions, and it started off almost as a hobby,” Munchhof said. “Friends would ask me questions about investments and taxes. Eventually, I figured I would try to make money off of it because I’m already doing it, so I took the steps to get the licenses and education to go down that route.”
Though “The New Tax Law” is Munchhof’s first book, it is not his first experience writing. For about a year, he has also run a personal blog, posting once or twice a month about personal development and behavioral finance. As a self-described introvert, he views writing as a more comfortable way to connect with people than speaking to them one on one, and also appreciates how writing allows him to leave something behind when he eventually passes.
The writing process for the book was easy for Munchhof, he said, since he was already familiar with the material and only took a few months to complete the manuscript. Setting a deadline for himself and diligently writing and researching every day helped Munchhof complete the book so quickly.
He said that the most difficult and confusing part of the process was learning the ins and outs of publishing.
“It was pretty difficult and probably would have been easier to hire someone to publish this for me, but I wanted to learn it on my own for future books,” Munchhof said. “It was easy to make the print book because I could just plug the manuscript into their template, but the ebook was difficult because it uses computer coding. My first business years ago was a web design business but even knowing what I do, it was still pretty difficult.”
The book may have just been published, but Munchhof is already working on a new book about investments, geared at exploring past investment scandals and hopefully rebuilding the public’s confidence in investing. Though he says the writing process will be different in his new book since it will focus much more on anecdotes and the emotional aspect of investing, Munchhof said that the publishing process for the second book will be much easier now that he has already done it once.
Munchhof said that what makes him most proud about being a published author is how excited his children have become about writing.
“My son is writing a little book about a storm, and when he finishes it he wants me to publish it on Amazon,” Munchhof said. “The funny thing about that for me is that when you have kids, they don’t want to listen to you, but they do like to imitate you and learn from you.”