Skip to main content
Tarlton Law Library logo Texas Law Home Tarlton Law Library Home
Today's Hours:
Today's Hours
More Hours

Federal Tax Research Guide

A guide to conducting federal tax research.

Looseleaf Services

Looseleaf services are specialized finding aids that combine primary sources of law (statutes and regulations) with explanations (like a treatise) and annotations to related resources, such as administrative material and case opinions, organized by topic.

In print, Tartlon subscribes to CCH Standard Federal Tax Reporter, which is updated weekly. 

CCH is organized by Internal Revenue Code section. The text will generally be ordered as:

  1. Code section
  2. some explanation
  3. first applicable Treasury Regulation
  4. additional explanation
  5. anotations to related resources (e.g., Revenue Rulings, cases, other IRS guidance)
  6. second applicable Treasury Regulation, etc.

An index (Volume 1) is located at the end of the set. It contains a subject-matter index, finding aids by code section/regulation, and a glossary of tax terms.

CCH also has a two-volume citator of cases and Treasury Regulations, which can be consulted to ensure that a particular case or regulation is still good law (much like Shepards or KeyCite). Cases are organized alphabetically by the taxpayer's name. Regulations are organized by Treasury Decision number, not by CFR section number.

CCH's guide to using the Standard Federal Tax Reporter is available here.

Specialized Tax Databases

Tarlton offers two specialized tax databases: CCH Intelliconnect and Thomson Reuters Checkpoint. Both these databases are available only to UT Law School students and faculty. To access these databases, select Research Tools-->Databases from the menu on Tarlton's homepage.

CCH Intelliconnect is the electronic equivalent of the CCH Standard Federal Tax Reporter looseleaf service. It also includes additional content, such as United States bilateral tax treaties. CCH Intelliconnect is organized just like the print Standard Federal Tax Reporter and works in largely the same way as its print counterpart; it is organized by Code section, followed by relevant regulations, and annotations for administrative documents and cases, all updated weekly. CCH Intelliconnect's full-text searching interface is not particularly strong, however, and it is recommended that users "browse" through the hierarchy of resources, although searches are available through the interface.

Thomson Reuters Checkpoint includes electronic equivalents of both Thomson Reuters (formerly RIA)'s Federal Tax Coordinator 2d and United States Tax Reporter looseleaf services. Tarlton no longer subscribes to these two looseleaf services in print, so using Thomson Reuters Checkpoint is the only way to keep current using these two tools. A particular strength of Thomson Reuters Checkpoint is that it includes the Warren Gorham & Lamont series of tax treatises. Unlike CCH Intelliconnect, Thomson Reuters Checkpoint's full-text search interface is particularly robust and the researcher can make sophisticated searches similar to those possible on Lexis and WESTLAW.

Thomson Reuters Checkpoint's terms and connectors work similarly to those on WESTLAW and Lexis. The main difference is that WESTLAW and Lexis interpret the space between words as "or", but on Thomson Reuters Checkpoint spaces are "and". So the search annual exclusion /10 gift on Thomson Reuters Checkpoint would be the same as "annual exclusion" /10 gift on WESTLAW.

Similarly, a search on WESTLAW or Lexis for (attorney lawyer) /5 (tuition "educational expenses") /10 deduct! would be done on Thomson Reuters Checkpoint as (attorney or lawyer ) /5 (tuition or “educational expenses”) /10 deduct!

WESTLAW and Lexis

Both WESTLAW and Lexis provide access to a large panoply of tax material. It is recommended that the researcher activate each product's specialized "tax interface" as this will provide streamlined access to these resources.

For WESTLAW: Click on "Add a Tab" in the upper right of the screen, then "Add Westlaw Tabs". A check box to add the Tax tab will be available in the "Topical" section.

For Lexis: Click on "Add/Edit Subtabs" and choose the check box for Taxation from the "Practice Areas" section.