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Tax Law Research

U.S. Constitution

  • Article I, section 8: authorizes Congress to levy taxes/prohibits state taxation that burdens interstate or foreign commerce
  • Article I, section 7: tax bills must originate in the House of Representatives
  • Article I, section 2: requires direct taxes to be apportioned according to population
  • 16th Amendment (ratified 1913): allows income tax without apportionment (i.e. permits progressive income taxation)

Major Acts

  • Internal Revenue Code of 1939 was the first fully organized federal tax law.  Prior, between 1913 and 1939, there were a series of revenue acts which were periodically re-codified.  
  • Internal Revenue Code of 1954 – replaced 1939 code
  • Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended – renamed the 1954 code as part of the 1986 tax reform
  • Codified at 26 U.S.C. Section 1 et seq.

Title 26 of the U.S.C.

Divided into several subchapters:

  • Income Taxes
  • Estate and Gift Taxes
  • Employment Taxes
  • Miscellaneous Excise Taxes
  • Alcohol Tobacco and Certain Other Excise Taxes
  • Other Subchapters dealing with procedure and administration, and specific situations, e.g. federal campaign financing, certain trusts and group benefits

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