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Tax Law - Federal Tax Resources


Tax research focuses primarily on the Internal Revenue Code and the various primary and secondary materials that interpret that code. A tax problem often involves legislative, judicial, and administrative interpretations. Administrative sources play an especially important role in tax research, and understanding the numerous administrative proclamations and whether they are binding or persuasive authority is essential.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. Self-Help Resources
  2. Legal Encyclopedias and Dictionaries
  3. Primary Sources
    1. Legislative and Executive
      1. Legislative History
      2. Statutes
      3. Regulations
      4. Administrative (IRS) Rulings
    2. Case Law
  4. Specialized Treatises
  5. Practice Guides
  6. Forms
  7. Websites
  8. Community Resources

For information on California tax law, see the Legal Research Guide on California Tax Resources, available on our website at www.saclaw.org/pages/california-tax-law.aspx

1.     SELF-HELP

All of these titles may be found in the Self-Help section of the Law Library.

Deduct It!: Lower Your Small Business Taxes KF 6491 .F574

Easy Ways to Lower Your Taxes: Simple Strategies Every Taxpayer Should Know KF 6297 .F67
Electronic Access: From any computer (Library or home) via the Legal Information Reference Center. Instructions are available on our website at www.saclaw.org/pages/nolo-ebooks.aspx.

Every Landlord's Tax Deduction Guide KF 6377.Z9 F57
Electronic Access: From any computer (Library or home) via the Legal Information Reference Center. Instructions are available on our website at www.saclaw.org/pages/nolo-ebooks.aspx.

Every Nonprofit's Tax Guide KF 6449 .F57
Electronic Access: From any computer (Library or home) via the Legal Information Reference Center. Instructions are available on our website at www.saclaw.org/pages/nolo-ebooks.aspx.

Ernst & Young Tax Guide KF 6369.6 .E76

Home Business Tax Deductions KF 6491 .F57
Electronic Access: From any computer (Library or home) via the Legal Information Reference Center. Instructions are available on our website at www.saclaw.org/pages/nolo-ebooks.aspx.

J.K. Lasser's 1001 Deductions and Tax Breaks 2015 KF 6385 .Z9 W45
Electronic Access: E-supplements are available at www.jklasser.com.

J.K. Lasser's New Rules for Estate, Retirement, and Tax Planning (2014) KF 6585 .J55

J.K. Lasser's Small Business Taxes 2015: Your Complete Guide to a Better Bottom Line KF 6491 .J25
Electronic Access: E-supplements are available at www.jklasser.com.

J.K. Lasser's Your Income Tax 2015: for Preparing Your 2014 Tax Return KF 6369 .J55
Electronic Access: E-supplements are available at www.jklasser.com.

Stand Up to the IRS KF 6324. D345
Electronic Access: From any computer (Library or home) via the Legal Information Reference Center. Instructions are available on our website at www.saclaw.org/pages/nolo-ebooks.aspx.

Surviving an IRS Tax Audit KF 6314 .Z9 D277
Electronic Access: From any computer (Library or home) via the Legal Information Reference Center. Instructions are available on our website at www.saclaw.org/pages/nolo-ebooks.aspx.

Tax Deductions for Professionals KF 6495 .P7 F57
Electronic Access: From any computer (Library or home) via the Legal Information Reference Center. Instructions are available on our website www.saclaw.org/pages/nolo-ebooks.aspx.

Tax Savvy for Small Business KF 6491 .D35
The Truth About Paying Fewer Taxes KF 6297 .B45
Kay Bell covers a lot of ground, from the overall structure of the US tax system, explaining the difference between tax credits and tax deductions, and how to handle stressful issues like paying tax debts and handling audits. The core of the book is devoted to tax breaks available to families, employees, and homeowners.

2. LEGAL ENCYCLOPEDIAS & DICTIONARIES

American Jurisprudence 2d KF 154 .A42 (Ready Reference)
Volumes 33 through 34B, Federal Taxation
These volumes include a detailed discussion of Federal tax laws and cover topics including income taxes, deductions, and taxable income. Also contains current tax calendars, tables, and rates.
Electronic Access: On the Law Library's computers, using WestlawNext.

West's Tax Law Dictionary KF 6287 .S65 (Reference Desk)
This helpful volume features definitions of tax terms, words, and phrases commonly used in tax law research. In addition to extensive references to the IRC and federal regulations, the dictionary also features an index of relevant publications and numerous cross references.

3 (A).  PRIMARY SOURCES: LEGISLATIVE AND EXECUTIVE

i. LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012: Law, Explanation, and Analysis
KF 6276. 62012 .T39  
CCH Tax Law Editors provide tax practitioners with a single integral reference source of this important legislation, which allows the Bush-era tax rates to sunset after 2012 for individuals with incomes over $400,000 and families with incomes over $450,000; permanently patches the alternative minimum tax (AMT); revives many now-expired tax extenders, including the research tax credit and the American Opportunity Tax Credit; and provides for a maximum estate tax of 40 percent with a $5 million exclusion.

General Explanation of Tax Legislation Enacted In . . . Blue Book KF 6285 .G46
Commonly referred to as the Blue Book, this pamphlet provides a detailed explanation of the tax-related provisions contained in legislation enacted in the prior Congress. The Blue Book provides the legislative history for each Act, a provision-by-provision description of the prior law and new law, the reasons for the law change if the provision was reported out of committee before enactment, and the effective date of each law change. Published biannually.

ii. STATUTES

United States Code Annotated
Title 26, Income and Taxation
USCA is the current annotated United States Code published by West.
Electronic Access Only: On the Law Library's computers, using WestlawNext.

United States Code Service KF 62 .L38 (Compact)
Title 26, Income and Taxation
USCSis the current annotated United States Code published by LexisNexis.

United States Code
The USC unannotated edition is published by the United States Government. Title 26, contains the Internal Revenue Code.
Electronic Access Only: On the Law Library's computers using HeinOnline, or from any computer (Library or home) using FDsys, the U.S. Government's official online version, at www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCODE-2013-title26/pdf/USCODE-2013-title26.pdf

iii. REGULATIONS

Code of Federal Regulations KF 70 .A3 (Compact)
Title 26, Internal Revenue
Provides the current federal tax regulations.
Electronic Access: On the Law Library's computers using HeinOnline, or from any computer (Library or home) using FDsys, the U.S. Government's official online version, at www.gpo.gov/fdsys/browse/collectionCfr.action?collectionCode=CFR.

Federal Register
Regulations are first published in the Federal Register as proposed regulations, which allows for a public comment period before the regulations become final.
Electronic Access Only: On the Law Library's computers using HeinOnline, or from any computer (Library or home) using the Federal Digital Library (FDsys), the U.S. Government's official online version, at www.gpo.gov/fdsys/browse/collection.action?
collectionCode=FR
.

iv. ADMINISTRATIVE (IRS) RULINGS

Internal Revenue Cumulative Bulletin
The Internal Revenue Bulletin is cumulated twice a year and published as the Cumulative Bulletin. The IRB publishes revenue rulings, treasury decisions, notices, revenue procedures, and miscellaneous items, as well as Supreme Court decisions, treaties, tax statutes, and proposed regulations. Other documents, including private letter rulings, are not officially published but are often available in other sources. Ask the reference librarian for assistance in accessing these sources. IRS pronouncements published in the IRB are binding authority and must be followed by the IRS.
Electronic Access Only: From any computer (Library or home) at the IRS website www.irs.gov/app/picklist/list/internalRevenueBulletins.html

3. (B). PRIMARY SOURCES: CASE LAW

Federal income tax cases originate in the U.S. Tax Court, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, or the U.S. District Courts. Federal tax cases originating in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims are reported in the Federal Claims Reporter, available on the Law Library's computers using WestlawNext. Federal tax cases originating in the U.S. District Courts are reported in the Federal Supplement, Federal Reporter, or Supreme Court Reporter, all in Compact Shelving.

The U.S. Tax Court issues two types of decisions: regular decisions and memorandum decisions. A regular decision involves a new or unusual point of law. A memorandum decision generally involves the application of existing law or an interpretation of fact. Memorandum decisions are not officially published.

Tax Court Memorandum Decisions
Full text searchable Memorandum Opinions from 1995 to the present; can also be searched by date, judge, and case name.  
Electronic Access Only: From any computer (Library or home) at the US Tax Court website www.ustaxcourt.gov/UstcInOp/asp/HistoricOptions.asp.

U.S. Tax Court Reports
The Official Reporter from 1942 to the present. Full text opinions from 1995 to the present can also be searched by date, judge, and case name.
Electronic Access Only: From any computer (Library or home) at the US Tax Court website www.ustaxcourt.gov/UstcInOp/asp/HistoricOptions.asp.

4. SPECIALIZED TREATISES

CCH Standard Federal Tax Reporter KF 6280 .C6 C4
This comprehensive federal tax practice guide is arranged by code section. It contains code sections, regulations, and practice commentary together in consolidated format including calendars, tables, and checklists, and tax term glossary. It also provides the legislative history of sections, including excerpts of Committee Reports. Specific components include:

Internal Revenue Code volumes contain the complete official text of the Internal Revenue Code, with all amendments to date. This service includes cross-reference tables for the 1939 and 1954 codes and a table of cross-references for sections within the current code.

Compilation volumes (volumes 1-18) contain the full text of the income tax provisions of the current code, in code section order, coordinated with related Treasury regulations, editorial explanations, digests of court decisions and rulings from 1913 forward, and pertinent portions of Committee Reports on code amendments.

Citator volumes include a case name index providing the judicial history of each case and citations to later decisions, and finding lists for locating revenue rulings, revenue procedures, Treasury decisions, and other IRS and Treasury Department releases.

New Matters volume covers current legislation as well as recent rulings and tax court decisions.

5. PRACTICE GUIDES

Effectively Representing Your Client Before the IRS KF 6320 .E34
This practical manual for the tax practitioner contains sample correspondence and forms, and an accompanying CD.
[Forms on CD-ROM, ask at the Circulation Desk]

Federal Tax Research: Guide to Materials and Techniques KF 241 .T38 R5
This excellent guide explains the process of researching tax issues and the types of authority involved.

IRS Practice and Procedure KF 6320 .S26
This well-regarded authority, cited by the courts, includes references to the Internal Revenue Manual, critical Treasury regulations, revenue rulings, revenue procedures, IRS internal advice, and more than 5,000 case citations.

Real Estate Transactions: Tax Planning and Consequences KF 6540 .L48
This publication examines the tax consequences of real estate transactions, providing detailed examples from real-life situations, and offering cases, code provisions, rulings, regulations, checklists, and forms. Annual.

Subchapter S Taxation KF 6491 .G7
Coverage includes detailed examples and guidance for selecting entities; the factors important in dissolving or converting an S corporation into other forms; the tax impact of conversion of LLCs or partnerships to S corporations; practical guidance as to the risks and dangers in accomplishing and continuing qualification as a Subchapter S corporation. Updated biannually.

Tax Management Portfolios KF 6289. A1 T35
A series of individual booklets, each providing an in-depth analysis of and practice pointers for a particular issue involving federal income taxation. A master index volume indexes the portfolios by code section, topic, and keyword.

Top Federal Tax Issues for . . . CPE Course. KF 6297 .Z9 T67
Examines selected new law provisions, new IRS rules and regulations, and important case developments that CCH Editors deem to be the most critical for the coming year. It also brings tax practitioners up to date on the significant tax developments not always mentioned in official IRS publications and forms instructions either because they are too new or too controversial. Published annually.

Tax Planning Strategies KF 6297 .Z9 S871
Is ideal for gaining a clear understanding of many tax planning approaches and techniques that may yield substantial tax savings for individuals. This helpful, plain-English guide focuses on the income tax issues for individuals that need to be addressed throughout the year, as well as retirement and estate planning strategies. Published annually.

United States Master Tax Guide KF 6369 .A1C6
This guide, published every year, contains explanations of federal tax topics, including individual income tax, deductions, tax credits, and tax rates. Also contains checklists and a Quick Tax Facts guide. Published annually.

6. FORMS
All federal tax forms and publications are available from any computer (Library or home) for free at the Internal Revenue Service website, www.irs.gov.

IRS Procedural Forms and Analysis KF 6320 .A9 S34
A companion to IRS Practice and Procedure.

7. WEBSITES

Internal Revenue Service
www.irs.gov
Provides information on federal taxes for individuals and businesses. Includes all federal tax forms and publications, filing instructions, lists of electronic services available, and answers to frequently asked tax questions. All of the tax forms can be downloaded; many can be completed online. Accessible forms and publications. www.irs.gov/Forms-&-Pubs/Accessible-Products/Accessible-IRS-Tax-Products.

Your Federal Income Tax (Publication 17), published annually by the IRS features details on taking advantage of a wide range of tax-saving opportunities. www.irs.gov/publications/p17/index.html and Spanish version of this and other publications at www.irs.gov/Spanish

Each and every taxpayer has a set of fundamental rights they should be aware of when dealing with the IRS. Explore your rights and their obligations to protect them. Your Rights as a Taxpayer at www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p1.pdf, and also in Spanish at www.irs.gov/file_source/pub/irs-pdf/p1sp.pdf

Affordable Care Act (ACA)
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) created several tax and non-tax provisions for health care coverage and financial assistance options. Important tax provisions for individuals and families include the Premium Tax Credit and the Individual Shared Responsibility Provision. Employer provisions include the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit and the Employer Shared Responsibility Provision.

J.K. Lasser.com
www.jklasser.com/
In addition to offering his books for sale and E-supplements to titles, this website offers the latest tax news, a blog, tax articles, "Ask J.K.," and more. Sign up to receive latest tax news.

Don't Mess with Taxes
dontmesswithtaxes.typepad.com/dont_mess_with_taxes/
Author of "The Truth About Paying Fewer Taxes," Texas journalist Kay Bell helps make your tax tasks less, well, taxing. Her daily posts, humorous, pointed and insightful, have earned her a large following, both at her blog and within social media.

Taxes and Your Donations: Goodwill Valuation Guide
www.goodwill.org/donate-and-shop/donate-stuff/
The U.S. Internal Revenue Service requires you to value your donation when filing your return. To get started, download Goodwill's donation valuation guide, which features estimates for the most commonly donated items. Also links to an electronic resource with a free trial.

United States Tax Court
www.ustaxcourt.gov/taxpayer_info_intro.htm
Has taxpayer Information about starting a case and/or representing yourself before the Court. Web site includes: Introduction, About the Court, Starting a Case, Before Trial, During Trial, After Trial, Glossary and a Video. Other resources include the Rules of Practice and Procedure www.ustaxcourt.gov/notice.htm, and the Taxpayer Information Glossary www.ustaxcourt.gov/taxpayer_info_glossary.htm.

USA.gov File your taxes
Learn more about filing your state and federal taxes. Find common forms, file your tax return, and track your refund.
www.usa.gov/Citizen/Topics/Money/Taxes.shtml

8. COMMUNITY RESOURCES

IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs)
www.irs.gov/uac/Contact-My-Local-Office-in-California
Your source for personal tax help when you believe your tax issue cannot be handled online or by phone. If you need to resolve a tax problem, have questions about how the tax law applies to your individual tax return, or you're more comfortable talking with someone face-to-face, visit your local TAC, no appointment is necessary. The local office is at 4330 Watt Ave., Sacramento, CA 95821, (916) 974-5225. Open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m.to 4:30 p.m. More information on services provided at this office www.irs.gov/uac/Services-Provided-ONE.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA)
Free tax preparation assistance by IRS-trained volunteers to prepare basic income tax returns at VITA sites. Sacramento locations and hours can be found at portalcityofsacramento.org/HR/Volunteer-Opportunities/VITA. Information about other locations can be obtained by calling the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. Free tax software is available on this web site to complete your taxes yourself. 

IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS GUIDE, OR IF YOU NEED HELP FINDING OR USING THE MATERIALS LISTED, DON'T HESITATE TO ASK A REFERENCE LIBRARIAN.

Updated 1/15 jc