Website of the Month:
TaxAlmanac

By Susan B. Anders

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MARCH 2007 - TaxAlmanac, www.taxalmanac.org, is a free online resource sponsored by Intuit. The website is designed as a professional community where users post questions and responses, contribute to articles, and access research materials.

Similar to Wikipedia, a free online encyclopedia written by volunteers, TaxAlmanac is maintained by a small staff and user-volunteers. Registration is required to post questions in discussion forums and to author or edit articles. The website is most useful for professionals who want quick access to the IRC or Treasury Regulations, who are stumped by a practice question, or who want to share their expertise.

The well-organized homepage presents a detailed snapshot of the resources available and also serves as an anchor for navigation. The title banner links to the Tax Research Library and Discussion Forums. A horizontal menu bar on the home and main pages provides links to more specific categories. The left side of the home and main pages is dedicated to three indices. The navigation index presents links to selected features. The toolbox index provides links for user editing functions, including a “printable version” hyperlink. The Discussion Forums index is organized by topic and type of query.

A good place to begin exploring is the hyperlinks under the TaxAlmanac title on the homepage: Overview, Quick Start Guide, A–Z Index, Explore, and Help. Overview provides background on the site. Quick Start Guide walks the user through creating an account and posting to the website. The A–Z Index provides separate topical indices for articles and discussions. Explore guides users on how to search the site and contribute articles. Help provides a table of contents on how to use the website.

Discussion Forums

Discussion Forums can be readily accessed from the title banner of the homepage, and the hyperlink on the Navigation index. Recent discussions are also featured on the homepage. Discussion categories include Tax Questions, Accounting Questions, Tax Tips, and All Topics. Users can read discussion threads without
logging in, but must register and log in to participate.

Articles

Articles are the most extensive resource on the website. The major approaches for accessing articles include the horizontal category menu on the home and main pages, the A–Z Index in the title banner, and the search function. The homepage presents a featured article and links to recent and older articles.

Article offerings are extensive. A useful example from the main menu bar includes What’s New, which summarizes tax law changes for the current year. Another example is the State category, which includes a listing of registered users from each state. Forms & Publications presents an extensive listing of IRS publications. For each main category, the articles are further organized by subcategory and then alphabetically, making it easy to skim through the offerings.

Tax Research Library

An important feature of this website is the Tax Research Library, containing free online versions of the IRC and Treasury Regulations. A good overview of the offerings is on the homepage link for the Tax Research Library. Content is grouped into Statutory Authority, Administrative Authority, Judicial Interpre-
tations, Editorial & Other Information, State Tax Re- sources, and Books & Other Tax Research Resources. Many materials are directly on the website, and links are provided for others.

Statutory Authority provides the IRC, Income Tax Treaties, and Public Laws. For each code section, the original source law and amendment history are provided, as well as cross-references to other code sections. Complete texts of U.S. tax treaties with 45 countries are primarily in PDF format. Public laws are available as an external link.

Treasury Regulations, under Adminis-trative Authority, are accessible by the same drill-down procedure as the IRC. Other Administrative Authority resources include Internal Revenue Bulletins back to July 2003 and Revenue Rulings back to 1954. Editorial & Other Information provides articles organized by the main horizontal menu bar categories. Additionally, there are links for IRS Forms, IRS Publications, and other materials.


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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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