Tax Research - Federal Guide

This guide on federal tax research explains where and how to find tax materials.


Looseleaf services are specialized finding aids that combine primary sources of law (e.g., statutes and regulations) with explanations (like a treatise) and annotations to related resources (e.g., administrative material and case opinions), organized by topic. It is a publication that can provide "one-stop shopping" for the researcher.

VitalLaw (formerly CCH) is organized by Internal Revenue Code section. The text will generally be ordered as follows:

  1. Code Section
  2. Explanation
  3. First applicable Treasury Regulation
  4. Additional explanation
  5. Annotations to related resources (e.g., Revenue Rulings, cases, other IRS guidance)
  6. Second applicable Treasury Regulation
  7. Etc.

An index (Volume 1) containing a subject-matter index, finding aids by code section/regulation, and a glossary of tax terms is located at the end of the set. 

A two-volume citator of cases and Treasury Regulations can be consulted to ensure that a particular case or regulation is still good law. Cases are organized alphabetically by the taxpayer's name. Regulations are organized by Treasury Decision number, not by C.F.R. section number.


In addition to primary sources, the databases below include specialized editorial content and organization that make it easier to find relevant tax materials. 

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