Questions About Tax Resources on the Internet
Peter A. Karl III
1. What resources for tax information exist on
There are three basic
sources of tax information on the Internet: subscription-based
websites, online professional discussion groups, and specialty
sites in taxation.
Fee-based tax research sites available to paid subscribers
include the following:
With the increasing popularity of the web, tax professionals
have developed a forum for interaction, including the posting
of questions and answers for peers to provide feedback and
opinions. For example, Taxsites (taxsites.com) has a grid
of topics for tax, accounting, and payroll issues. Another
website, Accountants World (www.accountantsworld.com/default.aspx),
is open to anyone, but only members may post questions.
Specialty sites in taxation featuring legislative and regulatory
resources, both government-sponsored and proprietary, are
discussed in the questions below.
2. What does the IRS website offer?
The IRS’s website (www.irs.gov)
provides several resources. Any federal tax form (from 1992
onward) can be downloaded, with accompanying instructions,
as well as the IRS’s publications, Treasury Regulations,
weekly Internal Revenue Bulletins (IRB), and the audit technique
for various businesses. Users can use the IRS Newsstand
feature to subscribe to the IRS Daily Digital e-mail newsletter.
The IRS Newsroom provides briefings and recommendations
on tax-related topics. The IRS’s website can also
be searched from the U.S. government’s official web
which allows access to other federal agencies’ websites.
3. Where can the Internal Revenue Code and
Treasury Regulations be found?
Recent amendments have expanded the IRC to almost 3 million
words. The tax code site www.fourmilab.ch/ustax/ustax.html
outlines the code sections in sequential order and has
a word and phrase search feature. Title 26, the Internal
Revenue Code, can also be found within the general legislative
or on the website
Treasury Regulations can be searched on the GPO Access site
There is an IRS Index for the tax regulations
and for the plain language regulations (www.irs.gov/taxpros/content/0,,id=103728,00.html).
4. Where can information on legislation, such
as proposed tax bills in Congress, be found?
Tax-related legislative information pending in the U.S.
House of Representatives and the Senate can be found at
the House Ways and Means Committee (waysandmeans.house.gov),
Senate Finance Committee (finance.senate.gov),
and the Library of Congress’ “Thomas”
legislative portal (thomas.loc.gov).
Because the two houses of Congress work independently, any
differences in proposed legislation will be forwarded to
the Joint Committee on Taxation (www.house.gov/jct/)
for reconciliation. Recent legislative highlights can be
found at tax.cchgroup.com/news/legislation/.
5. What sources offer access to IRS administrative
Tax Links (www.taxlinks.com)
contains links to published IRS Revenue Rulings from 1954
through January 2003 and Revenue Procedures from 1995 on.
There are also sites for private letter rulings (www.irs.gov/foia/lists/0,,id=97705,00.html)
and Internal Revenue Bulletins (www.irs.gov/businesses/lists/0,,id=98230,00.html).
Other resources for pronouncements include www.legalbitstream.com
6. What reference resources exist for estate
and elder planning?
Two excellent proprietary sites for estate planning can
be found at www.estateplanninglinks.com
The United States Government Administration on Aging (www.aoa.gov/)
has published a public service site for elders. Another
resource is the National Association of Financial &
Estate Planning (www.nafep.com).
7. What website is recommended for state tax
Two all-inclusive websites of state tax information are
Tax Sites (www.taxsites.com/state.html)
and Sister States (www.sisterstates.com).
In addition, the Federation of Tax Administrators (www.taxadmin.org)
and state links on the IRS’s site (www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=99021,00.html)
can assist in this area.
8. Where can one look when researching tax
strategies for investment and business real estate holdings?
If seller financing is involved, for applicable federal
rate (AFR) information, www.pmstax.com/afr/index.shtml
can be utilized. When one looks for calculators for mortgages
in various payment forms, useful locations are www.bankrate.com/brm/amortization-calculator.asp
If a section 1031 exchange is being considered, 1031exchangetax.com
is an informative site.
9. Where can judicial information be researched
for tax cases?
The United States Tax Court website (www.ustaxcourt.gov)
allows users to search cases from May 1986 to the present.
Links to different federal and state courts can be found
features a database to federal tax-related cases. U.S. Supreme
Court decisions can be searched from www.findlaw.com/casecode/supreme.html.
10. What professional accounting organizations
have tax-related resources on their websites?
The AICPA (www.aicpa.org/members/div/tax/index.htm)
and the NYSSCPA (www.nysscpa.org/taxresourcesa.htm)
have sections devoted to taxation resources, as does the
National Association of Tax Professionals (www.natptax.com).
11. Which websites offer international tax
To develop a working knowledge of foreign government tax
information, visit inter-lawyer.com/tax/laws.
This site provides direct access to foreign tax departments,
such as Canada’s revenue department. An alternative
approach is to translate foreign-language websites (e.g.,
the German Tax Department) into English through an online
translation tool found at as www.babelfish.altavista.com.
Money magazine’s online currency converter can be
helpful in converting foreign currency amounts to U.S. dollars
12. What tax material is available from law
Internet users can access vast sources of information from
numerous law school libraries. These resources can be gathered
from central sources such as the Washburn University School
of Law (
the USC Law Legal Journals Listing (lawweb.usc.edu/library/resources/journals.html),
and the Villanova University School of Law Library (www.law.villanova.edu/library/researchguides/taxdocuments.asp).
A recommended tax resource is the Legal Information Institute
of Cornell University (www.law.cornell.edu).
13. Where can information be found about specific
charitable organizations when a donation is being considered?
Philanthropic Research, Inc. (www.guidestar.org/search/index.jsp),
provides specific financial and tax information about charitable
organizations to evaluate an organization before donating
(see also www.charitynavigator.org).
The comparable IRS site is www.irs.gov/charities/contributors/index.html.
An annual publication from the New York State Attorney General’s
Office, “Pennies for Charities” (www.oag.state.ny.us/charities/charities.html),
outlines the portion of income received by specific charities
after administrative expenses. The Better Business Bureau
while the National Center for Charitable Statistics (nccsdataweb.urban.org/FAQ/index.php?category=31)
makes useful data available.
14. When preparing IRS Form 433-A (Collections
Statement for Individuals), where are the tables of IRS
allowances for expenses located?
When negotiating an offer in compromise or an installment
payment arrangement, the IRS has established maximums for
the following expense categories:
- Transportation, divided into two subcategories: when
a vehicle is owned or leased (used to generate earnings),
and the operational costs of the automobile (www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=104623,00.html).
- Housing and utilities (www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=104696,00.html).
- Miscellaneous expenses, such as apparel and services;
food; housekeeping supplies; and personal care products
or services (www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=104627,00.html).
The IRS TRAC website (trac.syr.edu/tracirs/)
provides detailed data from a variety of sources about IRS
civil and criminal enforcement.
15. Where is information about asset valuation
For the valuation of assets, there are several suggested
16. Where can information about the laws affecting
the formation and operation of not-for-profit organizations
The following websites address the legal and tax issues
facing exempt organizations:
17. What online tax resources are available
from the Government Printing Office (GPO)?
The Federal Register (www.gpoaccess.gov/fr/index.html)
is an authoritative source of information for proposed tax
regulations. The information in this database is accessible
for 1994 to the
18. What accounting publications can be read
The list includes:
The site www.findarticles.com includes the aforementioned
publications and others such as the Attorney-CPA,
which contains excellent periodic tax updates.
19. What websites could be considered the best
The following are some of the best:
20. What other qualities should be considered
when checking tax resources on the Internet?
Stability and consistency. Some organizations have created
and promoted websites only to abandon them. Even some of
the 90 sites listed above may not exist in six months. The
best advice is to always check the date of the last revision,
particularly at proprietary sites.
Peter A. Karl III, CPA, JD, is a partner
with the law firm Paravati, Karl, Green & DeBella, in
Utica, N.Y., and a professor of law and taxation at the State
University of New York—Institute of Technology (Utica-Rome).
He is also the author of www.1031exchange