Tax Law - Guide to Taxation Law
What is Tax law? It covers the rules, policies and laws that oversee the tax process, which involves charges on estates, transactions, property, income, licenses and more by the government. Taxation also includes duties on imports from foreign countries and all compulsory levies imposed by the government upon individuals for benefit of the state.
The intricate body of tax law covers payment of taxes to a minimum of four levels of government, either directly or indirectly. Indirect taxes are assessed against products and services that are meant to be consumed, but are paid to an intermediary. For example, when you buy coffee at a local corner store, the retailer charges you tax on your coffee, which he/she subsequently pays to the government. Direct taxes are those you pay directly to the government and are imposed against things like land or real property, personal property, and income.
There is a seemingly endless list of entities that create and enforce tax laws and collect tax revenues. They range from the local government level, such as cities and other municipalities, townships, districts and counties to regional, state and federal levels. They include agencies, transit districts, utility companies, and schools, just to name a few.
The area of tax law is exceedingly complex and in constant flux largely due to two reasons. The first is that the tax code has been used increasingly more often for objectives other than raising revenue, such as meeting political, economic and social agendas. The second reason is the manner in which the tax code is amended.
The Federal tax law is administered primarily by the Internal Revenue Service, a bureau of the U.S. Treasury. The U.S. tax code is known as the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 as amended (Title 26 of the U.S. Code). Other federal tax laws are found in Title 26 of the Code of Federal Regulations; proposed regulations issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS); temporary regulations issued by the IRS; revenue rulings issued by the IRS; private letter rulings issued by the IRS; revenue procedures, policy statements, and technical information releases issued by the IRS; and federal tax court decisions. Tax law for state and local government is also contained in codes sections, regulations, administrative codes, procedures and statements issued by the respective government authorities, as well as state court decisions.
There is a special trial court which hears disputes between the IRS and taxpayers regarding federal income, estate and gift tax underpayments - the U.S. Tax Court. This federal court is based out of Washington, but its 19 presidentially appointed judges travel to preside over trials in courts located in several designated major cities. The Tax Courts’ decisions may be appealed to the Federal District Court of Appeals and final review is retained by the highest court in the land, the U.S. Supreme Court.
Tax attorneys serve many important functions in the complicated arena of tax law. They may represent you throughout the various stages of tax disputes, from an initial audit to IRS administrative appeals, Tax Court and final review by the Court of Appeals, or even the U.S. Supreme Court. They are also invaluable in helping you navigate the intricate and bewildering laws in this area of practice.
Tax Law Definition
Taxation is a governmental assessment upon property value, transactions, estates of the deceased, licenses granting a right and/or income, and duties on imports from foreign countries. It includes all contributions imposed by the government upon individuals for the service of the state. Taxes are usually divided into two main classes: direct and indirect. Generally speaking, direct taxes are those assessed against income, land or real property, and personal property, which are paid directly to the government; whereas indirect taxes are assessed against articles of consumption, such as products or services, but collected by an intermediary, such as a retailer.
Know Your Rights!
Articles About Tax Law
- How Does U.S. Law View Offshore Bank Accounts?Perhaps you are one of the fortunate few who has achieved a level of wealth where you are legitimately concerned that the ebb and flow of the U.S. economy could have a dramatic effect on your personal finances. Or, perhaps, you have heard that there are ways to avoid certain taxes if you keep your money offshore.
- A Message from Uncle Sam to Taxpayers Who Have Undisclosed Foreign Bank Accounts: the Clock Is TickingOVDI: Is the IRS playing unfair? Read on...
- Found Money – What Are My Legal Obligations?Everyone has seen a few cents on the ground, likely dropped while someone pulled a ring of keys from their pocket. While we would probably not think twice about picking up a penny, what if it was a bank envelope full of $100 bills? It may seem like a dream come true, but there are certain legal obligations when one finds misplaced money.
- Can Foreigners Buy Real Estate in the United States?As the real estate market in the U.S. has made a strong indication of recovery, some outside of the United States have begun to look again at American real estate investments as a possibility. This leads some to wonder, though, whether it is even possible for a foreigner to buy real estate in the U.S.? If so, are there any special laws to be aware of or taxes that must be paid?
- The Calm Before the Storm: Warning Signs that a Referral to Criminal Investigation is LoomingA criminal investigation conducted by the IRS is different from a civil investigation. Criminal investigation of taxpayer returns or fraudulent activity is conducted by the Criminal Investigation Division of the IRS (CI). CI is the heavy artillery of the IRS arsenal.
- Eggshell Audits: Keeping the Shell of the Egg From Cracking When There are Criminal Tax IssuesIn an “eggshell audit,” you must walk on eggshells to represent your client effectively in the civil examination without exposing the fraud, all the while honoring your duties to the tax system not to mislead the revenue agent.
- To File or Not to File an Amended Return to Correct an Original Return That Has Criminal Tax DimensionsYour client has filed a fraudulent return underreporting his tax liability. He now has misgivings. He comes to you and expresses great concern. What should you do?
- The Hazards of Failing to File a Tax ReturnAll of us procrastinate. But some take things to dangerous extremes – putting off the filing of tax returns for a few years, or even many years. According to the IRS, each year some ten million people fail to file their tax returns. Nonfilers, as the IRS calls them, are skating on thin ice. They face both criminal and civil consequences. Luckily, these problems can be resolved if addressed, but they can also bring imprisonment and financial ruin if ignored.
- Whistleblowers Programs Could Help Regain Funds From Tax DodgersAccording to the California Franchise Tax Board, the state is owed more than 6.5 billion dollars in tax revenue. Some contend that implementation of a whistleblower rewards program could help to bring in some of that lost revenue.
- How to Write Off Expenses for Meals and Entertainment on Your Corporate TaxesOne of the most common questions often asked of corporate attorneys by small business owners who are just setting up their first company is how to write off expenses. Usually, two of the most important expenses these people want to write off are meals and entertainment expenses.
- All Tax Law Articles
State Tax Agencies
Taxation Law - US
- ABA - Section of Taxation
The American Bar Association Section of Taxation serves it's members by educating about taxes, and by providing leadership to support the development of an equitable, efficient and workable tax system.
- Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau
The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau develops regulations, conducts product analysis and ensures tax and trade compliance with the Federal Alcohol Administration Act and the Internal Revenue Code.
- Internal Revenue Code
The Internal Revenue Code is the domestic portion of federal statutory tax law in the United States implemented by the IRS.
- IRS - Tax Exempt Bond Division
The mission of the Tax Exempt Bond function of TE/GE is to fairly administer the Federal tax laws applicable to tax-exempt bonds and to provide our customers with top quality service by applying the tax law with integrity and fairness.
- IRS - Taxpayer Advocate Service
The Taxpayer Advocate Service's (TAS) job is to ensure that every taxpayer is treated fairly, and that you know and understand your rights. We offer free help to guide you through the confusing process of resolving your tax problems.
- Taxpayer Bill of Rights
The Taxpayer Bill of Rights is to help you understand what legislative rights and protections are available to you.
- United States Excise Tax
Excise taxes are taxes on a specific good, such as gasoline, and are often included in the price of the product.
- United States Federal and State Corporate Tax Legislation
An analysis of the legal and taxation characteristics of legal forms for doing business in the USA.
- United States International Trade Commission - Harmonized Tariff Schedule
The HTSA provides the applicable tariff rates and statistical categories for all merchandise imported into the United States; it is based on the international Harmonized System, the global system of nomenclature that is used to describe most world trade in goods.
- United States Sales Tax
Sales taxes are taxes placed on the sale or lease of goods and services imposed by state and local administrations.
- United States Tax Court
Congress created the Tax Court to provide a judicial forum in which affected persons could dispute tax deficiencies determined by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue prior to payment of the disputed amounts.
- US Department of the Treasury - Taxes
Collecting taxes in a fair and consistent manner is a core mission of the Treasury Department. Treasury's priorities in tax administration are enforcing the nation's tax laws fairly and efficiently while balancing taxpayer service and education to promote voluntary compliance and reduce taxpayer burden.
- US Internal Revenue Service
The IRS mission is to provide America's taxpayers top quality service by helping them understand and meet their tax responsibilities and by applying the tax law with integrity and fairness to all.
Taxation Law - International
Organizations Regarding Taxation Law
- American Accounting Association
- American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
- Americans for Tax Reform
- Citizens for Tax Justice
- Federation of Tax Administrators
- Multistate Tax Commission
- National Tax Association
- National Taxpayers Union
- Policy and Taxation Group - Estate and Death Tax
- Tax Foundation