Tax Research Overview

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Tax Research Overview

Tax practitioners provide tax advice to clients and should be familiar with the applicable standards for providing such advice, including Circular 230, the AICPA’s Code of Professional Conduct, and the AICPA’s Statements on Standards for Tax Services (SSTSs). CPAs need to keep excellent documentation of all tax research in accordance with these standards.

CPAs should also maintain an appropriate research library. Maintaining a tax research library is different for each CPA firm and will depend on the practice areas, size of the client base, and budget. With any tax research library, the relative authority must be kept in mind. Some sources are not authoritative and provide only guidance; these sources should not be cited as legal authority. It’s also important to distinguish between primary and secondary sources. Primary sources are documents issued by the government. Secondary sources are prepared by vendors who provide tax research services, legal analysts, scholars, and tax professionals, and include journal articles and textbooks.

It is very important that CPAs document client research, and communicate findings to clients and other stakeholders. To document client research an internal research memo is created and kept with the client’s files. A client memo is used to communicate the findings of the tax research.

With the Thomson Reuters Academic Advantage Program, you will have access to Checkpoint, a tax research database. This is a tailored package that provides a selection of libraries in taxation for educational institutions.

This access is to the same materials used by all of the Top 100 US CPA Firms, 99 of the Fortune 100 corporations, and 97 of the Top 100 US Law Firms. Some of the materials that you will access to is listed on the next page.

As a student with a Checkpoint user ID, you have additional functionality that’s not available through the IP authenticated library access (i.e. highlight, add notes, create folders, save documents, etc.).

  • Once you has been issued a Checkpoint ID, you will be able to access Checkpoint from any location or device that has internet access.
  • The IDs are temporary and will automatically expire either on December 31st or July 31st, depending on when you registered. (Fall Semester, will expire on December 31 and Spring Semester, will expire on July 31.)

To validate the domain and to help prevent abuse, all students must have their email address assigned to their Checkpoint user ID. Anyone found not adhering to this policy will be flagged as an “unauthorized user” and their Checkpoint access will be removed.   

Listed below are some of the materials that you will be have to access in the Core Tax Library:


Academic Advantage: Core Tax Library

Federal Tax

• Federal Tax Coordinator (47 Volumes)

• U.S. Tax Reporter Income/Estate and Gift/Excise

(35 Volumes)

• Citator 2nd

• Federal Tax Handbook

• Federal Taxes Weekly Alert Newsletter With Archive

• Complete Analysis of New Tax Acts

• Tax Planning and Practice Guides

• Tables, Rates and Checklists

• Sample Client Letters

• Topical Indexes

Federal Source Materials

• Internal Revenue Code with History

• Final, Temporary, Proposed Regulations and Preambles

• Committee Reports

• U.S. Tax Treaties in Force

• Revenue Rulings (1954 – Present)

• Revenue Procedures (1955 – Present)

• Notices (1980 – Present)

• Announcements (1959 – Present)

• Delegation Orders (1956 – Present)

• Private Letter Rulings/TAMs (1953 – Present)

• Federal Tax Cases

• Federal Tax Decisions

• General Counsel Memoranda (1962 – Present)

• Actions on Decisions (1967 – Present)

• Tax Court Rules

• Federal Procedural and Federal Claims Court Rules

• Pending and Enacted Tax Legislation

• Explanation of Tax Legislation Enacted (Blue Books)

• Internal Revenue Bulletins

• IRS Publications

• IRS News Releases

• Field Service Advice

• Service Center Advice

• Chief Counsel Advice

WG&L Journals (with archives)

• Journal of Taxation

• Practical Tax Strategies

• Journal of Corporate Taxation

• Journal of Multistate Taxation and Incentives

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