Filing your taxes with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or with your state's revenue collection agency is not always a straightforward procedure. For example, how will your tax liability change after a divorce if you share custody of your children? And how much will you be taxed for the money you just inherited from a deceased relative? These questions and more plague each of the many taxpayers who choose to file their own returns. This section provides a wide variety of helpful tax-related resources, including a state-by-state directory of tax agencies, links to national and state-specific taxpayer assistance resources, a glossary of common tax terms, and more.
Treasury (Tax) Regulations
Having access to the laws as they are written is an important part of understanding your rights and responsibilities, but the process doesn't stop there. It is virtually impossible to determine what is meant by a particular law, since the details of different situations might suggest radically different outcomes. One way that attorneys and agencies can reference the meaning of laws is to look at how courts have interpreted them in similar cases, but this can be difficult or impossible to determine depending on the question at issue and your access to relevant court cases.
In the case of the Internal Revenue Code there is another resource for learning how the laws it contains may be interpreted by enforcement agencies and courts. The Treasury Regulations located in 26 C.F.R., commonly referred to as the federal tax regulations, provide the U.S. Department of Treasury's official interpretation of the Internal Revenue Code. These interpretations are not binding on courts, but can still provide a significant amount of information about the Treasury's position regarding the law.
In addition to the federal tax regulations the IRS also publishes an array of documents explaining the Treasury regulations and providing the agency's position about any changes or announcing proposed and temporary programs it implements.
Glossary of Common Tax Terms
The legal field is full of complicated language and terms of art, but this is doubly so in the context of tax law. Some terms are generally familiar to people, while others can be very difficult to understand on their face. The glossary provided here can define terms like "schedules," which refer to the IRS forms that are used to report various kinds of income, deductions, and credits. You can read what qualifies as "permanent and total disability" and what is meant by "modified adjusted gross income."
The IRS itself offers several free tax services. The IRS news release provides an overview of free services available for taxpayers and links to additional information. The Taxpayer Advocate Service is a free, independent, and confidential tax assistance to taxpayers unable to resolve their IRS tax problems through normal channels or to individuals experiencing hardship.
Taxpayer Assistance Resources
Another useful resource is our collection of taxpayer assistance resources. There are a number of prominent national and state organizations devoted to providing taxpayers with guidance and assistance with federal and state tax issues. Some groups are specifically for military servicemen, the retired or elderly, and other communities. Other organizations offer help to anyone who has a question about their taxes.