Reference from Coast to Coast - Locating Tax Information

Welcome to Reference From Coast to Coast: Sources and Strategies, a monthly column written by the KMZ librarians. Headquartered in Chicago, Katten Muchin Zavis has reference librarians in Washington DC, Chicago and Los Angeles. There are eight professional librarians who are assisted by a great support staff. The KMZ librarians field questions and participate in research in a myriad of subject areas. This column will highlight some of our favorite reference sources and research techniques in the hope that sharing information  will help you in your day to day jobs. We welcome all of your comments and questions, and would particularly like feedback on sources and strategies that YOU use for research on our column topics. 

Tax season is here, and April 15th is rapidly approaching. Many librarians are spending a lot of time on the Internal Revenue web site locating and printing out tax forms. Accessing forms is simple to do on the IRS web site, but locating other information within the site can become a frustrating experience.

Fortunately there are web sites that make that job easier. My favorite one is taxsites.com (http://www.taxsites.com). This is a wonderful web site that indexes various tax, accounting and other related topics. These main indexes or topics, link the user to subindexes or subtopics which link to the appropriate web site.

Compare TAXSITES' IRS Pages with the IRS web site. Taxsites' IRS Pages link leads to an alphabetic list of the information in the IRS web pages. In two short steps, the user accesses the Internal Revenue Manual. To find the manual on the IRS web site, the user has to decide which topic from the opening page to access (Tax Info for Business), and then what topics on the linked pages to use (Tax Professional's Corner to Administrative Information & Resources to Internal Revenue Manual).

One great find on this site is under the topic Federal Tax Law--Other Administrative which is a link to a web site called Tax Links. The Tax Link site allows the user to access IRS Revenue Rulings from 1979 to the present and IRS Revenue Procedures from 1995 to the present. In contrast, the IRS web site only has revenue rulings and procedures from 1996 to the present.

Another nice feature of this site's is the categorization of many of the links as free services and subscription based web services. It saves the frustration of linking to a site only to find out that the user can't obtain the information (s)he wanted because one doesn't have a subscription.

In the Federal Tax Law topic under Other Administrative there is a note that states the PLR's (Private Letter Rulings) are not available on the IRS web site. That statement is not entirely correct. Selected 1999 & 2000 PLR's can be located on the IRS web site at http://www.irs.ustreas.gov/news/efoia/determine.html.

The State and Local Taxes topic has great links to general state tax sites as well as links to each state's tax sites.

This site is a great place to start a tax search and it is well worth the time spent investigating it.