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Tax Research

This guide focuses on state and federal tax research sources available to the Boston College community.

Looseleaf Services

What Are Looseleaf Services?

Prior to the proliferation of online tax research platforms, legal publishers developed a single resource that combined both primary and secondary sources on tax law. In general, each looseleaf service prints the text of Tax Code sections alongside the related Treasury regulations, and then provides an annotated list of cases, administrative rulings, and other documents related to that Code section. Each Code section is also accompanied by explanatory secondary material. Looseleaf services are now available through online platforms and are an efficient starting point for tax research because they provide to both the primary and secondary materials related to your tax issue. 


Popular Tax Looseleaf Services

Standard Federal Tax Reporter (VitalLaw) The Standard Federal Tax Reporter is arranged in Code section order. Along with the full text of the code section, you can easily access via a click, related legislative history, Treasury Regulations and explanatory materials. Annotations to each section also list case law and rulings interpreting that section of the Code. You can also search the full Standard Federal Tax Reporter or use a topical index to locate relevant sections if you don't know the tax section relating to your research issue.
United States Tax Reporter (Checkpoint/Westlaw) The United States Tax Reporter (USTR) is also arranged in Code section order and is available on both Westlaw and Checkpoint. Along with the full text of the Code provision the USTR provides quick access to legislative history, Treasury Regulations and annotations containing information on relevant cases and administrative materials to help with applying and interpreting to Code section. There is also a topical index to help you locate relevant Code provisions.
Federal Tax Coordinator (Checkpoint) The Federal Tax Coordinator is arranged by subject rather than Code section. It can be helpful when you are researching issues involving multiple sections of the Code or you do not know what Code sections apply. On Checkpoint you can conduct keyword searches for your research issue or use the Federal Tax Coordinator Topic Index, which you can find in the Table of Contents under the heading Federal Indexes.  


Bloomberg BNA Tax Management Portfolios

Bloomberg BNA publishes a series of called the Tax Management Portfolios, commonly referred to by practitioners as TMP. The Tax Management Portfolios are written by tax practitioners and provide in-depth analysis and practical application of tax topics with reference to the relevant authority governing each topic.  The series has libraries covering U.S. Income, Estates, Gift & Tax, State Tax, Accounting and International Tax.  The Tax Management Portfolios are available on Bloomberg Law via the Bloomberg Tax Practice Center

Finding a Relevant Portfolio: One helpful feature of the Tax Management Portfolios are the indexes, which are available for the U.S. Income, Estates, Gift & Trusts, and International portfolios.  You can locate a relevant volume by using either a topical index or Internal Revenue Code section index. The IRC index is particularly helpful when you know what section of the tax code you are working with. The indexes will quickly guide you to the most relevant portfolio for your code section or topic. Below is a list of the available Tax Management Portfolios with links to that content in Bloomberg Law. Also included are links to the available indexes.

Tax Law Treatises

Where the hybrid sources and the Tax Management Portfolios address a broad range of tax topics, there are a number of tax law treatises that focus on specific areas of tax law or focus on particular provisions of the Tax Code.  You can search the law library catalog to locate relevant treatises available at BC Law available either electronically or in print.  Below is a list where you can locate treatises on major tax issues.




  • Tax Treatises on VitalLaw: VitalLaw also has a collection of treatises on federal, state, international and estate tax topics. You can search the library catalog for a specific topic or browse a list of treatise titles on the VitalLaw platform.  

Practical Guidance

Practical guidance is a type of secondary source created to help lawyers understand and apply the law in practice. Practical guidance includes documents like practice notes, checklists and sample documents and clauses that can help lawyers carry out legal tasks.  

Lexis Practical Guidance has a tax practice area with materials covering a wide range of tax topics including corporate, individual, real estate, and employment tax issues.

Bloomberg Law's Tax Research platform also contains practice tools including tax tables, calculators, sample documents, checklist and practice guides.  

West Practical Law does not have a dedicated tax practice area, however it does have good coverage of tax matters that arise in the practice areas it does cover. It is therefore worth running a keyword search in Practical Law to see if there is coverage of your issue.