Federal income tax law governs the taxation of a person’s or entity’s income regardless of its source. Examples are income from services, property, increases in money (e.g., capital gains) and cancellation or discharge of debt.
Internal Revenue Code: A large and complex body of law that is amended frequently.
Internal Revenue Service Regulations: The Treasury Department’s interpretation of the Internal Revenue Code. Once published and adopted, these official interpretations have lawful effect.
Revenue Rulings: The IRS’ published stated position on a particular set of facts. For judges, these rulings are persuasive authority rather than binding.
Letter Ruling: An IRS agent’s position to a taxpayer on a particular set of facts. This binds the IRS but is only persuasive authority for judges.
Case Law: The court system further shapes the structure of this body of law. The main court venues available for taxpayers to address issues are:
Last update: Sept. 26, 2008