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Tax Resources for Clinics

This guide covers tax resources for clinics working with startup companies.

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Background and How to Use This Guide

Advising business clients, particularly startups, requires a general understanding of the tax costs, tax benefits, and filing requirements regarding entity choice (what tax entity the business will be), compensation (either of owners, employees, or independent contractors), and operations (e.g. selling merchandise or purchasing real estate).The purpose of this guide is to provide a roadmap for researching these areas for clinic students who do not conduct tax research regularly. This guide will provide advanced, secondary resources for researching federal and Illinois tax law. Please note that the guide will focus on resources for tax planning as opposed to representing clients in tax controversies before the Internal Revenue Service. However, the secondary sources provided will give you information about tax practice and procedure.

When you start your research it is important to start with a broader source that will provide an overview of the topic. The most useful sources will provide references to the underlying authoritative Internal Revenue Code Sections, Treasury Regulations, and case law.

Key Features of Tax Advising for Business Clients

  • Startup companies, and all businesses in general, typically have to comply with federal tax law and state tax law (for each state the company operates in).
  • The main primary sources of tax law are: Internal Revenue Code (I.R.C.), Treasury Regulations, case law interpreting statutes and regulations (typically from the Tax Court although the federal district court, appellate court, and Supreme Court also issue tax rulings), and state tax laws
  • The administrative agencies that enforce tax law, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and (in Illinois) the Illinois Department of Revenue, also typically issue decisions, the agency's interpretation of the law, and guidance for taxpayers.
  • Pro Tip: The tax information published by government agencies are designed to provide an overview for lay people, which typically includes filing requirements and deadlines, while sources like Practical Law, IICLE, and Bloomberg will provide more of the underlying authority for these rules. For legal research purposes, you need to understand the underlying authority, so if you start with a government source make sure to follow up your research with a secondary source like Practical Law, IICLE, and Bloomberg.

General Resources

These resources are a good place to start for students who have no idea about the tax concerns of small businesses. While these sources are a good place to start, follow up this research with other sources.

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