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Federal Tax Research: Resources & Techniques

Federal Tax Research: Resources & Techniques

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    Federal tax research Federal tax research Presentation Transcript

    • Federal Tax Research Professor Lisa Smith-Butler Advanced Legal Research Fall 2013
    • Many thanks to Professor Gail Levin Richmond at Nova Southeastern University, Shepard Broad Law Center, for guiding me through the thicket of tax research.
    • Federal Tax Research The U.S. Constitution, article 1, Sec.8,cl. 1. empowers the U.S. Congress to: • • • • • • • • lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts, and Excises, and to pay the debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts, and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States.
    • How do I start a tax research project? If you have a citation or popular name, go directly to Title 26 (Internal Revenue Code) of the Code. If you know very little about the topic and want to begin to familiarize yourself, select a secondary resource to assist.
    • Secondary Sources Secondary sources that will help explain tax research materials and techniques include: •Barkan, Steve, ed. et. al., Federal Tax Research, in Fundamentals of Legal Research, 9th ed. (New York: Foundation Press, 2009.) KF 240.F85 2009 •Richmond, Gail Levin, Federal Tax Research: Guide to Materials and Techniques, 8th ed. (New York: Foundation Press, 2010.) KF 241 .T38 R53 2010.
    • Primary Sources of Authority As with every other subject that we have examined this semester, there are three primary sources of authority with regards to federal taxation.
    • Primary Sources Primary sources of federal tax authority include: • statutes, i.e. legislation drafted by the U.S. Congress; • regulations promulgated under either a delegation of legislative power to the Treasury Department or an exercise of executive power by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS); • cases decided initially by the Tax Court, a U.S. District Court, the Court of Federal Claims, or a U.S. Bankruptcy court. Those decisions can be appealed to the appropriate U.S. Court of Appeal and ultimately the U.S. Supreme Court.
    • Statutes Legislation enacted by the U.S. Congress regarding taxes is published (codified or published in a subject arrangement) in Title 26 of the United States Code. The U.S.C. can be found: •in print publications by GPO, West, and Lexis; •online at no charge at FDsys ; •online at fee sites such as Westlaw, Lexis, and Hein online; •in commercial publications, print and electronic, such as Bloomberg BNA’s tax products, CCH’s Standard Federal Tax Reporter, Merten’s, and RIA Checkpoint.
    • Bloomberg BNA Bloomberg BNA is best known for its Tax Management Portfolios as well as its current awareness resource, the Daily Tax Report.
    • Bloomberg BNA Tax Material
    • Bloomberg BNA: Tax Management Portfolio
    • CCH: Standard Federal Tax Reporter
    • CCH: Standard Federal Tax Reporter SFTP can be considered one stop shopping because the researcher can access the: • text of the IRC • the legislative history pertaining to IRC provisions • committee reports • regulations • annotations • commentary
    • IRC or Code Section
    • Legislative History: Committee Reports
    • Regulations
    • Annotations
    • CCH Explanations
    • RIA Checkpoint
    • Browse Title 26 at FDsys
    • Advance Lexis
    • Westlaw Next
    • Legislative History: Specialized Tax Resources In addition to the usual sources for compiling a federal legislative history, specialized tax resources exist. Some of these specialized resources are: • Seidman’s Legislative History of Federal Income Tax laws, 1861-1938; • Seidman’s Legislative History of Federal Income and Excess Profit Laws, 1938-1953; • Seidman’s Legislative History of Excess Profit Tax Laws; & • Compiled Tax Legislative Histories by Bernard Reams.
    • Hein Online In addition to the Seidman legislative histories, Hein Online also provides access to tax and economic reform legislative histories as well as early tax and economic reform books. The IRC from 1909-1950 is also available via Hein Online.
    • HeinOnline
    • Regulations & IRS Pronouncements The Treasury Department promulgates and issues regulations pertaining to the tax code while the Internal Revenue Service makes pronouncements about pending situations of individual/corporate taxpayers and the tax code. These regulations, pending regulations, and various pronouncements are published in a variety of sources.
    • Treasury Department Regulations Temporary and final regulations, promulgated by the Treasury Department, are also known as Treasury Decisions (T.D.) As with all regulations, these final regulations are initially published in the Federal Register (F.R.) and then codified into Title 26 of the Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) Pending regulations, i.e. proposed T.D.s, are published in the Federal Register as are all pending federal regulations.
    • Commercial Publications Temporary and final tax regulations, T.D.s, are also published in commercial sources such as: • CCH Standard Federal Tax Reporter; • RIA Checkpoint; or • Tax Analyst.
    • IRS Pronouncements The IRS issues pronouncements that are both officially published as well as unofficially. Officially published pronouncements include: • Revenue Rulings (RR); • Revenue Procedures (RP); & • Notices & Announcements. These pronouncements do have legal significance for taxpayers.
    • IRS Pronouncements In addition to making and publishing official announcements, the IRS also makes announcements that it publically releases but does not officially publish. These include: •Private Letter Rulings (PLR) •Technical Advice Memorandum (TAM) •Actions on Decision (AOD) •General Counsel Memoranda (GCM) •Internal Revenue Manual (IRM) •Field Service Advice (FSA) •Service Center Advice (SCA) •Chief Counsel Advice (CCA) •Chief Counsel Bulletins •Litigation Guideline Memoranda (LGM) •Industry Specialization Program (ISP)
    • Official IRS Pronouncements Revenue Rulings (RR) are issued by the IRS to deal with particular factual situations presented by a taxpayer. If the IRS determines that the ruling is of general interest, it is published in the Internal Revenue Bulletin and Cumulative Bulletin. Revenue Rulings can be relied upon by taxpayers in similar factual situations.
    • Revenue Procedures & Procedural Rules (RP) • These are publications, in the Internal Revenue Bulletin and Cumulative Bulletin, of IRS practices and procedures. • They are arranged by year of publication, in chronological order. • As with Revenue Rulings, other taxpayers can rely upon Revenue Procedures to avoid “substantial understatement penalties.”
    • Officially Published IRS Pronouncements Notices, Announcements & Other Items • These are officially released by the IRS and published in the Internal Revenue Bulletin but not the Cumulative Bulletin.
    • Internal Revenue Bulletin
    • Where are official pronouncements published? Official pronouncements by the IRS are published in official IRS publications known as the Cumulative Bulletin and the Internal Revenue Bulletin. They are also published commercially in CCH and RIA Checkpoint.
    • Released IRS Pronouncements The IRS also publically releases pronouncements such as TAMs, AODs, PLRs, and other publications that the IRS does not consider to be “officially published.” The IRS does not consider itself to be bound by these pronouncements to taxpayers as a group.
    • Private Letter Rulings (PLR) Private Letter Rulings (PLR) are issued by the IRS to private taxpayers to provide guidance regarding a particular IRS policy as applied to a given set of factual circumstances. The taxpayer receives this ruling before it is publically released to others. While illustrative of IRS policy, these PLRs cannot be relied upon by taxpayers other than the one to whom the ruling was issued.
    • Private Letter Rulings
    • Actions on Decisions (AOD) Actions on Decisions demonstrate the reasons why the IRS chooses not to appeal an adverse decision issued against it by a trial level court.
    • Technical Advice Memoranda & General Counsel Memoranda Technical Advice Memoranda (TAMs) are issued by the IRS in response to “IRS requests arising out of tax return examinations.” • See Richmond, Gail Levin, Federal Tax Research, in Fundamentals of Legal Research. General Counsel Memoranda (GCMs) come from the Office of General Counsel of the IRS. They provide the reasoning and authority relied upon by the IRS when issuing PLRs, RRs, and RPs.
    • Where can we find the released, yet not officially published, IRS Pronouncements? Internal Revenue Bulletin CCH Standard Federal Tax Reporter RIA Checkpoint Tax Analysts Advance Lexis Westlaw Next
    • Bloomberg BNA: Tax & Accounting Center
    • CCH: Standard Federal Tax Reporter
    • RIA Checkpoint
    • Advance Lexis
    • Westlaw Next
    • Cases After locating the applicable statutory provision and related regulations, cases can then be reviewed to understand how courts are interpreting the IRC. Where do tax cases originate? • U.S. Tax Court • U.S. Bankruptcy Court • Court of Federal Claims • U.S. District Court
    • Cases in Tax Court Taxpayers who can not or will not pay disputed tax bills with the IRS proceed to the U.S. Tax Court to resolve their dispute. The official publication for U.S. Tax Court decisions is United States Tax Court Reports. Commercial publications of Tax Court decisions include the CCH Tax Court Reporter & RIA Tax Court.
    • United States Tax Court
    • Bloomberg BNA: Tax Cases
    • CCH: Standard Federal Tax Reporter
    • RIA Checkpoint
    • Advance Lexis
    • Westlaw Next
    • Tax Decisions in Bankruptcy Court & the Court of Federal Claims Decisions regarding taxes issued in a U.S. Bankruptcy Court after 1980 are published in the subject publication, Bankruptcy Reporter. Decisions from the U.S. Court of Federal Claims are now published in the U.S. Court of Claims Reports.
    • Tax Decisions in U.S. District Courts Provided a tax payer can and does pay the disputed tax to the IRS, the tax payer can then sue the IRS for a refund in the appropriate U.S. federal district court. Before 1932, these decisions were published in the Federal Reporter. After 1932, these decisions were published in the Federal Supplement.
    • Commercial Publications Decisions involving tax disputes are published commercially in: American Federal Tax Reports CCH Standard Federal Tax Reporter CCH Tax Court Reporter RIA United States Tax Court Reports
    • Appellate Decisions Involving Tax Decisions from the Tax Court, U.S. District Court, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, and Court of Federal Claims can be appealed to the appropriate Circuit Court and ultimately to the U.S. Supreme Court. Circuit Court decisions are published in the Federal Reporter while U.S. Supreme Court decisions are published in the U.S. Reports.
    • Updating Tax Materials Tax citators exist, enabling tax researchers to update their materials. Citators are: • Shepards Federal Tax Citations • CCH Standard Federal Tax Citator • RIA Citator
    • Loose Leafs & Treatises Several loose leaf services, subject specific to tax, do exist and include: •Bloomberg BNA Tax Management Portfolios •CCH Standard Federal Tax Reporter •Merten’s Law of Federal Income Taxation •RIA Federal Tax Coordinator
    • Tax Newsletters/Current Awareness BNA Daily Tax Report Tax Analysts Daily Tax Notes
    • Forms? Check out www.irs.gov/
    • Questions? Stop by the Reference Desk or check out Gail Levin Richmond’s Tax Research Techniques.