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Tax Law

Overview of Internal Revenue Code

The Internal Revenue Code, more formally known as United States Code Title 26, holds the majority of statutes covering income, estate and gift, excise, and employment taxes.

The Code is divided into 11 subtitles:

  • Subtitle A - Income Taxes
  • Subtitle B - Estate and Gift Taxes
  • Subtitle C - Employment Taxes
  • Subtitle D - Miscellaneous Excise Taxes
  • Subtitle E - Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Excise Taxes
  • Subtitle F - Procedure and Administration
  • Subtitle G - The Joint Committee on Taxation
  • Subtitle H - Financing of Presidential Election Campaigns
  • Subtitle I - Trust Fund Code
  • Subtitle J - Coal Industry Health Benefits
  • Subtitle K - Group Health Plan Requirements

Federal Statutes

The Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is the current code in force, and this is the one that you will want to use for researching current tax statutes. Access annotated versions of  this current code on Westlaw Edge (USCA) and Lexis Advance (USCS).  These annotations provide helpful explanations of the law and links to relevant resources like cases and regulations.  Bloomberg Law has a topical index that is useful for narrowing down which topic area you would like to research within each subtitle of the Code.

The Internal Revenue Code has three different versions that have replaced each other over time. The section numbering in each is slightly different.  The 1939 Code is completely different from the 1954 version, but the 1954 Code has the same section numbering as the 1986 Code.

Additional Tax Statute Sources

While the majority of tax statutes are codified in Title 26 of the United States Code, there are also other tax resources that can be found throughout the Code. 

Title 29 of the United States Code is another large source of statutory information.  Access the annotated versions on Westlaw Edge (USCA) and Lexis Advance (USCS).

Other sources of tax statutes can be found by using an index, such as the United States Code Annotated Index.  When looking under tax related terms, this index has several phrases and headings that are useful in finding further statutory tax law.  The term "Taxation" yields particularly relevant results.

The Standard Federal Tax Reporter Code also provides the helpful texts of many additional statutes.  The most current version of this source is available on Cheetah.

Proposed and Pending Legislation

Tax laws are a topic a of constant discussion, and the best way to find the pending and proposed legislation for these resources is discussed below.

Lexis Advance - Public Laws.  This database holds the full text of public laws.  This specific portion of Lexis' database allows you to look through all the federal tax law resources.

Lexis Advance - Tax Legislative Histories, Combined. Tailored specifically to tax legislative history, this resource contains committee prints and reports, congressional documents and hearings, congressional Research Reports, bill histories, and House and Senate Voting Records.

ProQuest CongressionalThis database offers a comprehensive collection of congressional documents from 1789 to the present.  The materials available in this collection include bills and laws, the congressional serial set, committee hearings, House and Senate documents, and Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports.