An Educational Novel For Use in Taxation and Public Finance Classes


D. Larry Crumbley, LSU

Add some excitement to your course. The Ultimate Rip-Off is an educational novel that mixes fraud, crime, politics, and taxation together to get a better way of learning the taxation process. Jeff Burke, an Ollie North-type Special Agent in the IRS, goes beyond the law to find several rogues who are evading taxes.

Featuring sleuths who handle net worth statements and financial records the way most detectives handle guns, the humorous characters put taxation concepts into real-life individual and business decisions. Along the way public finance concepts and political controversies, contemporary individual and corporate tax planning, tax fraud and avoidance, and the life of IRS employees are elucidated in a way both students and instructors will find gripping as well as informative. Never dull! This educational novel is both didactic and entertaining. Exam questions are provided.


"Aims to lend excitement to the study of debits and credits by couching the stuff in romantic prose."

Business Week
"Proves that the phrase ‘suspenseful accounting’ is not necessarily an oxymoron."
Wall Street Journal
"Master of the teaching novel, a new form of instruction designed to explain to students what CPAs really do."
Accounting News
"The 48-year-old cross between Mickey Spillane and Mr. Chips [is] jump starting student interest in subjects not known for flair—from tax codes to accounting to auditing."
Washington Post
"Commended for this innovative approach to tax education and his efforts in combating the unfavorable stereotype of accountants and the IRS."
Issues in Accounting Education
"He focuses on protagonists like the forensic accountant—the investigator of ledgers—allowing the otherwise dry material to take on the aura of mystery. The dramatic intrigue, in turn, helps the student-reader retain the principles."
"A standing ovation for taking the technical and sharpening it into digestible fare of today’s earnest students. Overall, Collett’s approach is refreshing and deserves praise."
"Perhaps now is the time for more faculty to follow Crumbley's lead in writing didactic novels and for others to consider adjustments to their traditional instructional methods. We documented the successful use of fiction in three offerings of an advanced undergraduate tax course. Students in these classes obtained many of the benefits attributed to fiction. Students did gain some vicarious real-life experience. They saw stereotypes challenged, engaged in critical thinking, and tried to resolve ethical conflicts. The instructor's observations and the students' comments indicate that the students' interest was piqued and that they acquired more facility with technical terminology. Students' comments to the professor were overwhelmingly positive and some even expressed their favorable views to other accounting and tax instructors. As a result, two colleagues are now considering including novels in their syllabi, one in an intermediate accounting course and the other in marketing."
Professors Dorocak and Purvis in
"Using Fiction in Accounting Courses," Advances in Accounting Education, Vol. 1, 1998, pp. 69-92.
How to Order: Instructors may request a desk copy of Ultimate Rip-Off from Carolina Academic Press, 700 Kent Street, Durham, NC 27701; Tel: (800) 489-7486; Fax: (919) 419-0761,

Email D. Larry Crumbley

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