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IRS code

Our newest forum:
We reveal the mystery of learning how to learn the law; even as it relates to taxes.

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IRS code

Postby Mpaepcke » Thursday July 12th, 2007 10:49 am MDT

I just called the IRS to request a copy of the tax code. The lady told me that there is no actual tax code that is contained in a single book or volume of books (because the tax code is too large) but that the tax code is made up of many different things such as court rulings, bulletins, etc. Any suggestions on how or where to begin studying the tax code?

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Tax Code

Postby Gabo » Thursday July 12th, 2007 10:51 am MDT

Here is a link to the Tax Code on Cornell's law website, which I highly recommend for its valuable resources:
The Internal Revenue Code,
which is United States Code Title 26
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Postby Citizensoldier » Thursday July 12th, 2007 4:15 pm MDT

I have found the best resource to research a subject covered in the United States Code is to review the pertinent US Code Annotated text at a local law library.

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Re: IRS code

Postby Admin » Friday July 13th, 2007 11:08 pm MDT

:h: Mpaepcke:
It is interesting that the IRS representative you spoke with was so well informed and yet so ignorant. Her indication that:
there is no actual tax code that is contained in a single book or volume of books
Is semi-correct in that, though the United States Code Title 26 is short titled as the, ‘Tax Code’, it is neither ‘Positive Law’ nor is it complete without implementing regulations, thus, it is not found in a single book or a single volume of books—but it is all available in books and on the internet. The tax protestors make quite a big deal about the fact that the tax code is not positive law, but the United States Attorney General’s office contests that protestors’ argument is bogus because the actual laws passed by Congress and made law by the President’s signature are positive law [even though the Tax Code is merely a summary of those laws compiled in said Title 26. The Attorney General is correct on that matter; thus, considering that fact and the quote noted above, it might seem like the IRS representative you spoke with was right.

However, that representative was incorrect by saying:
the tax code is made up of many different things such as court rulings, bulletins, etc.
Neither court rules (orders and opinions of the courts) nor bulletins, etc. are part of the Tax Code. The Internal Revenue Service’s Tax Code is United States Code Title 26, and its implementing regulations are found at, the Code of Federal Regulations Title 26; thus, the Tax Code is implemented in accord with CFR 26 and the Courts’ rules can be definitive regarding how the code and its implementing regulations are to be understood and applied.

There are two primary free sources for studying these codes, rules and regulations; they are Cornell’s review as shown in the link provided above by Gabo (also available on our Online resources page) and on the US Legislature’s website (also linked on our Online resources page). The Cornell page lists the code in an index styled format, which makes reading it directly a little more friendly but the US Legislature’s service makes it easier to search for some part of the code that you already know the citation for. We find that we almost always turn to the US Legislature’s access to the United States Code through Team Law’s website’s Online resources page because we are usually looking up a specific known code. We also appreciate the US Legislature’s access to the United States Code because they are more likely to have it properly and timely updated.

We also agree with Citizensoldier’s comment, in that we like using the actual books to do our research and because we like studying the code with the annotations. The annotations bring pertinent history and court rules to our attention and provide those rules right there on the spot, that being a single volume of books where the Tax Code is presented authoritatively.

There are also fee based search engines, like Lexis that provide the annotated code and a whole lot more, right at your fingertips. Lexis access is quite expensive if you are not a professional lawyer making money off of having such an exquisite resource at your fingertips.

Thus, the best place to go to study the Tax Code is a subjective question that takes in more criteria than you provided us to answer such a question. We favor going to a Library where you can find the United States Code Service, annotated or purchasing the same (as we did). For just reading the code or following it along in much the same way one might use a book, the Cornell site is good; for searching for a particular code, the US Legislature’s site is hard to beat; if you have the funds available to access Lexis, it is a great place to go. (If you take a paralegal training course, you can get access to Lexis for free as a law student, which alone can justify taking a paralegal training course).

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