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Primary, secondary sources of tax law; substantial authority

What are the primary sources of tax laws, what do each mean and represent?

What are the secondary sources of tax laws, what do they mean and represent?

What is substantial authority, what are the pros and cons?

What is the role of the courts and the Internal Revenue Service in interpreting and applying the sources of tax laws?

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What are the primary sources of tax laws, what do each mean and represent?

The 16th Amendment to the Constitution is the primary authority extended to the Congress to levy and collect taxes.

Congress makes rules published in Title 26 of the US Code. Those rules become the Internal Revenue Code and the Regulations.

The Internal Revenue Code (IRC) is the tax law as written and enacted by Congress. The Regulations represent the official interpretation of the IRC written by the US Department of the Treasury. They are published in the Federal Register and are open to public comment. When published, they are usually proposed regulations, pending any changes or comments about change. It is interesting to me that some proposed regulations are never finalized, even long after the comment period has expired.

As for being a primary source, the proposed regulations are not as strong as the finalized regulations but they still are a primary source.

http://www.irs.gov/taxpros/article/0,,id=98137,00.html

So, the simple answer is that the Code and Regs are primary; everything else is a secondary source.

What are the secondary sources of tax laws, what do they mean and represent?

Secondary sources are often thought of as court decisions which apply and interpret tax law. But secondary sources also include documents and guidance published by the IRS itself including
Revenue Rulings, Revenue Procedures, Private Letter Rulings, Technical Advice Memorandum, Notices and Announcements. These types of documents are generally in order of their relevance, but that is not always true.

The following link gives an explanation of each of the types of IRS guidance published by the Service:
http://www.irs.gov/irs/article/0,,id=101102,00.html

There is a hierarchy of tax authority that can be used to substantiate ...

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