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!
- 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.
- Is There Any Tax Liability for Giving a Gift?
Those who have dabbled with tax laws much at all are probably familiar with the general mantra that any money received may be taxable income. They may also be familiar with the idea that payments over a certain amount or in certain types of relationships (like employer/employee) often require that the payer ensure taxes are taken out before the balance is given to the payee. But what about gifts? Is there any tax liability for giving a gift?
Articles About Tax Law
- What Benefits Is My Same-Sex Spouse or Domestic Partner Entitled to?Due to a number of important Supreme Court decisions in the 21st century, married same-sex spouses are entitled to a number of benefits that were previously outside their reach. While domestic partners may be entitled to some benefits, married spouses are typically eligible for more benefits. Marriage is a factor in many federal benefits.
- Tax Implications Depending on Immigration StatusTax implications on certain immigrants and non-immigrants.
- Business Taxes, Payroll Taxes and Trust Fund Recovery PenaltyWhen the business faces a cash flow problem, many business owners use the payroll taxes collected but not yet turned over to the IRS.
- Willfulness and the Civil FBAR PenaltyIn 2008, when it was revealed that wealthy individuals around the world were utilizing accounts and trusts in Liechtenstein to evade taxes, the United States initiated a coordinated effort with foreign governments to combat tax evasion through the use of offshore trusts and accounts. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has since launched criminal investigations of several foreign banks, many of which are ongoing.
- IRS Changing Terms for Offshore Account HoldersU.S. taxpayers hiding assets abroad should take note of the Internal Revenue Service’s plan to sharply increase penalties for such acts, while those who unintentionally fail to disclose offshore accounts will experience much more leniency.
- Extra! Extra! Read All About It! IRS Commissioner Announces That Changes Are In the Offing For OVDP 2012On June 3, 2014 the new IRS Commissioner, John A. Koskinen, gave a speech before the International Business - OECD International Tax Conference. His speech covered the history of the offshore enforcement initiative since the UBS debacle in 2009. His remarks acknowledge what most professionals in the tax community have recognized since the inception: that OVDP needs more tweaking in order to meet the overall goals of enforcement and fairness.
- U.S. District Court Upholds Multiple Willful FBAR Penalties Against TaxpayerIn a case that has raised eyebrows in the tax community, a jury in the Southern District of Florida has sustained the IRS’s assessment of multiple willful FBAR penalties against an American business man and bank director.
- Alphabet Soup for Installment AgreementsWhat is an installment agreement? An installment agreement is an option for those who cannot pay their entire tax bills by the due date. It allows taxpayers to pay the amount due over a period of time
- U.S. to Ease Initial Enforcement of FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act)With FATCA set to take effect on July 1, financial institutions around the world have been lobbying to delay implementation of the law, citing concerns about costs and potential disruptions to global markets.
- The Shifting Landscape of the OVDP Opt-OutSince the IRS announced the 2009 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) over five years ago, our firm has been assisting taxpayers submit accurate and complete disclosures in accordance with the program guidelines and procedures. The evolution of the OVDP through the 2011 and 2012 programs has brought a longer look-back period, steeper penalties, and more insight into IRS positions and procedures at different points in the program.
- 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