Chap05 - Chapter 05 Tax Research Chapter 5 Tax Research...

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Chapter 05 - Tax Research Chapter 5 Tax Research Questions and Problems for Discussion 1. The tax law is far too voluminous and complex for even experienced tax professionals to know the answer to all tax questions. In addition, the tax law changes constantly, through legislative changes, issuance of new regulations and rulings, and new judicial decisions. Tax research is necessary for the tax researcher to ensure a complete, accurate, and up-to-date answer to most tax questions. 2. Particularly with proposed (rather than completed) transactions, an understanding of the client’s motivation can help the tax researcher in seeking alternative ways to structure the transaction which produce better tax results. 3. A tax issue is generally broader than a research question. Tax issues may be fairly general (e.g., is an expenditure deductible) while research questions should be precisely and narrowly stated (e.g., what are the requirements for deducting expenditures, when must an expenditure be capitalized). A single tax issue may lead to multiple research questions. 4. Primary authorities represent the law itself (statutory authority) and administrative and judicial interpretations of the law issued by governmental entities. Primary authorities can be relied upon by a taxpayer in arguing his or her tax position in a court of law. Secondary authorities are interpretations of the law issued by nongovernmental entities. Secondary authorities represent the author(s) opinion about the tax law, and cannot be relied upon by a taxpayer in arguing his or her tax position in a court of law. 5. Secondary authorities are often helpful to a tax researcher because they can be easier to read and understand than primary authorities. Secondary authorities often provide citations to relevant primary authorities. A tax researcher might use secondary authorities as a starting point in locating and understanding potentially relevant primary authorities. 6. The appellate court decision is considered authoritative, because the appellate court has the legal authority to override the trial court’s decision. 7. The Citator will indicate whether a judicial decision has been appealed. If so, the appellate court decision is considered authoritative, not the trial court decision. In addition, the Citator will provide citations to subsequent court decisions referencing the decision under consideration. If such subsequent decisions support the decision under consideration, this support may strengthen the researcher’s conclusions. If subsequent decisions contradict the decision under consideration, the researcher may wish to explore these other decisions further before reaching conclusions. 8. The chapter discusses three alternative strategies, of which the student’s answer should address two. The three strategies discussed are: (1) using the topical index, (2) using the table of contents, and (3) in an electronic service, using a keyword search. Use of the topical index
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