Website of the Month: Essential Links to Taxes

By Susan B. Anders

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APRIL 2005 - Essential Links to Taxes (www.el.com/elinks/taxes) is one of several “reference” web portals covered by Essential Links, which bills itself as the “Metaportal to the Internet.” While Essential Links to Taxes performs a function similar to the Yahoo Tax Center (reviewed in January 2004), it offers different resources that provide value specifically for tax professionals. Some links are not commonly found on other web portals.This website also offers links to other tax-related portals such as LookSmart, GovSpot, About, and Taxsites.

Essential Links to Taxes is a free website, paid by advertising sponsors, banner advertisements, and “featured website” advertisements. While this website avoids pop-up advertisements, some sponsoring sites do not. Featured websites open in a separate window, while other sites open in the same window. When navigating within the site, note that the “home” button leads to the general-interest Essential Links parent website.

The major navigational tool is the “categories” listing on the left-hand vertical index on all of the Essential Links to Taxes main pages. The center of the tax homepage replicates the index, but also includes hyperlinks to featured websites in each category. Some category assignments are awkward and inconsistent, with useful resources appearing under unexpected categories. Additionally, a few linked resources are out of date or have substantially changed.

Essential Links to Taxes has a quiet, albeit eccentric, charm, and after persistent probing, it became apparent that this site is a useful tool for tax practitioners. It offers a large number of professionally oriented resources, such as tax law and tax code, in addition to materials that would interest individual taxpayers.

Useful Links

The website offers connections to tax form and publication providers under several different categories. “Major tax sites” offers links to FedWorld for archived IRS forms and publications, Uncle Fed’s Tax Board, and the IRS’s homepage. The “tax forms” category provides connections, which include the forms and publications pages on websites for the IRS, MSN Money Central, Uncle Fed’s Tax Forms, and 1040.com. The “regional and local” category provides state tax forms via websites that link to state tax departments, and nongovernmental sites such as Tax and Accounting Sites Directory (located under State and Local Taxes), Sister States Tax Directory, and the Federation of Tax Administrators.

Tax practitioners can find legal tax research help under the “tax law” and “tax code” categories. Tax law links include Legalbitstream, Thomas (the Library of Congress legislative website), and the Joint Committee on Taxation. Other resources include the University of Oklahoma Links to Tax Law page and ERI Distance Learning Center’s Employment Law page. Tax code links include the Legal Information Institute (Cornell University), as well as the U.S. House of Representatives (located under US Tax Code On-Line).

Essential Links to Taxes offers connections to several tax-related investor websites. Many are found under “major tax sites,” but others appear under a variety of categories. The links include SaveWealth.com and the Yahoo Tax Center, as well as the tax homepages for InvestorGuide University, MSN Money Central, and SmartMoney.com.

The “tax related news” category features a mix of sources that appeal to both taxpayers and professionals. The professional-oriented links include Tax Analysts, Electronic Accountant, and the IRS Newsroom. A link to Tax Analysts’ Tax History Project can be found under “miscellaneous.” The “link lists” category includes links to Jeeves, LookSmart, and Google. The “commercial tax sites,” “software,” “tax tools and utilities,” and “tax discussions” categories appear to be geared more for individual taxpayers, but professionals may find some interesting resources.


Susan B. Anders, PhD, CPA, is an associate professor at St. Bonaventure University, N.Y.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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