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What Types of Law Guidance Are Published by the IRS?

Whenever you need legal tax guidance, you must check the publications offered by the Internal Revenue Service, or IRS. The IRS is a branch of the Treasury Department charged with enforcing federal tax laws. The basis for federal tax law is contained within the Internal Revenue Code. Aside from the tax code, case law published in the Tax Court Reporter and rulings made by the Chief Counsel for the IRS provide legal guidance for questions that you might have.

Internal Revenue Code

If you have legal questions concerning the preparation or status of a particular tax issue, consult the the Internal Revenue Code, which is supplemented by written publications and arranged by topic. IRS publications can be viewed online. The publications cover legal matters that encompass the entire range of tax issues within the Internal Revenue Code. Furthermore, proposed and temporary regulations that are prepared by the Chief Counsel's Office of the IRS and approved by the Treasury Department for public notice. Comment and hearing procedures are available in text form prior to legislative approval and finalization. The proposed regulations are available on the Treasury Department website and give guidance as to the upcoming legal planning of the IRS.

Tax Litigation

If you need published legal guidance from the IRS because you are involved in litigation, search for the information within the Tax Court Reporter and Tax Court Memorandums, both of which can be found at the U.S. Tax Court site. The Tax Court Reporter and Tax Court Memorandums reflect court decisions that have been rendered by the Tax Court or the Federal District Courts. Tax decisions made by the Appeals Court and the Supreme Court are also included. For purposes of penalty analysis, the IRS publishes a Penalties Handbook that consolidates the penalty structure of the IRS by topic and explains the types of penalties issued. All U.S. Tax Treaties with other countries are published, and they outline the details of the exchange of information aspects of each treaty.

Legal Advice and Guidance

If you are looking for legal advice and tax guidance, check out the website for the Chief Counsel's Office of the IRS. The website contains legal opinions that range in scope from general issues to very complex international tax matters and treaties. The advisory publications include the Chief Counsel Advisory (CCA), Chief Counsel Notice (CCN), Field Service Advisory (FSA) or Chief Counsel Memoranda (CCM). Also, Industry Specialization Programs are formed in order to tackle complex, industry-wide tax matters that require official pronouncements in the form of Coordinated Issue Papers (CIP).

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