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Discussion Forum Index --> Tax Tips --> IRS Publications

DR BRISKET (talk|edits) said:

2 February 2006
This comment is especially directed to forum members who may just be launching their tax careers and have not dealt much with the tax law.

Extreme caution should be used in reading or citing IRS publications. They are nothing more than the Internal Revenue Service's INTREPRETATION of the INTERNAL REVENUE CODE. More often than not, the IRS's interpretations are quite conservative and slanted.

Of course, there are certain publications such as #946--"How To Depreciate Property" that contain helpful depreciation tables, etc. But one should never cite any IRS publication as the basis for arriving at any conclusion to a tax issue.

Just a few words of wisdom from an old man who has "been there--done that!!" Cheers--and here's wishing every forum member who is involved in preparing tax returns professionally to have a very fun and successful tax season!!


Skhyatt (talk|edits) said:

2 February 2006
How would you rate the CCH U.S. Master Tax Guide in terms of a useful guide? I'm curious, because I just got my copy today and there were certain subjects/issues that I looked up and had trouble really finding a clear, concise explanation, specifically, the new uniform definition of a child. I figured they would have that covered, but, unless I'm missing something, it really wasn't covered in one section. Was broken up, depending on which subject was being talked about, eg: dependency, HOH, etc. That's just one example. Thoughts?

DR BRISKET (talk|edits) said:

2 February 2006
Unfortunately, I haven't reviewed the publication you are referring to. However, I can understand where you are coming from in asking the question.

I guess my main point in bringing this up is that if the IRC codes were so easy to interpret and understand, then there wouldn't be any need for the US Tax Court. But, as we all know, there are hundreds of cases annually where the courts have rendored decisions in favor of taxpayers when they locked horns with the IRS over whatever the issue happened to be. I myself find the Tax Code quite difficult to read and deciphor. So, I think it is great we have other resources to turn to such as CCH US MasterTaxGuide. And I must admit that I do read the IRS publications, particularly #17. But, the actual Code is still the tax gospel, and that is what we must interpret when we have to resolve tax issues.

Skhyatt (talk|edits) said:

2 February 2006
Yes, I agree. What I usually find myself doing is reading the specific publication, then try to find it in the Code to back it up. Sometimes that works, and sometimes not. The code can be very difficult to read/understand sometimes.

Riley2 (talk|edits) said:

2 February 2006
It is true that you may not cite an Internal Revenue Service publication in a court of law.

Yes, I agree that the Internal Revenue Code provides the most accurate representation of Congressional intent. The publications probably confuse rather than clarify most simple issues.

For example, it does appear that there is an error in Pub 17, page 27, example 4 which states that a qualifying child cannot have a qualifying child. Actually, there is nothing in the qualifying child rules that a qualifying child may not have a qualifying child. Instead, Sec. 152(b)(1) provides that a dependent may not have a dependent. This means that a dependent may not claim a $3,200 deduction for his qualifying child, and may not claim dependent care expenses for that child, but he may claim the child tax credit for that child. Moreover, no other taxpayer may claim that qualifying child as a qualifying relative.

However, the EITC rules do, in fact state, that neither a qualifying child nor a dependent can claim the EITC.

Xjessie007 (talk|edits) said:

5 August 2011
I have noticed that the IRS publications sometimes are more restrictive than the code, but I have not found an example of where the code is more strict than the IRS publications.
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