Researching Federal Taxation

 ***THIS is an ARCHIVED guide. It may contain BROKEN links. Its value is HISTORICAL only.***

Current Research Guides 

©Mark Kloempken, Public Services Librarian and Lecturer in Law, Washington University School of Law Library

I. Introduction

The Secretary of the Treasury Department has the authority and responsibility to administer the Internal Revenue Laws. However, the Secretary delegated most of this responsibility to the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service. The Internal Revenue Service has a National Office in Washington, D.C. The purpose of the National Office is to develop uniform programs to administer the tax laws. There are seven Regional Offices, each headed by a Regional Commissioner, which manage the District Offices and Service Centers. Sixty three District Office carry out the Services' compliance functions by examining returns, collecting taxes, and investigating fraud. Finally, there are ten Service Centers which process tax returns.

A. Searching Technique

This Research Guide is designed to introduce you to library resources that will allow you to identify and locate materials regarding taxation. There are a variety of sources available including cases, administrative materials, treatises and periodical articles, each of which can be approached through a number of 'indexes.' In order to utilize the various indexes to your greatest advantage, you should first identify those terms that you can use to conduct an efficient search and that will yield materials that are relevant. A second difficulty when researching a subject is locating those materials that you have previously identified as being relevant. The two most common methods of using an index are to search either by key word or by subject. The advantage to key word searching is that you may begin with the information that you have. A number of terms suggest themselves from a reading of the course syllabus: 'progressivity', 'taxation of the family', 'tax base', 'transfer tax' 'wealth taxes', 'state and local taxation', and, 'tax reform.' Each of these terms can be joined with another in a key word search to refine the search. For example, if you search the Washington University Law Library Catalog, using the key words 'tax reform,' you will retrieve 561 items. If you combine the terms 'tax reform' and 'states,' you will retrieve 446 items. But, if you combine 'tax reform,' 'states' and 'families,' you will retrieve 3 items. The first entry, Capital punishment in America, clearly indicates the importance of discovering which terms are useful so that irrelevant materials are not retrieved. There is a disadvantage to key word searching, that being that unless the appropriate key words are used, you may easily miss material that is on point. It is always a good idea look at the complete record to see what subject headings have been assigned. The advantage to subject headings is their structure, in other words, all the items which are embraced by the subject will be retrieved, irrespective of the words used. In the example above, the appropriate subject heading is 'Taxation Family.' If you search the catalog under that subject heading, you will retrieve 29 entries, listed under 11 subheadings. In other words, the subject 'Taxation Family' is further divided into subheadings, such as 'Taxation Family Corporations United States.'

II. Primary Sources

Primary sources, such as the Constitution, statutes, treaties, regulations, IRS pronouncements, and judicial decisions, derive from the legislative, executive, judicial, or administrative branches of the government. Secondary sources, such as treatises, looseleaf services, or periodical articles, explain the primary sources.

A. Statutes

Statutes on taxation are found in Title 26 of United States Code (U.S.C.), United States Code Annotated (U.S.C.A.), or United States Code Service (U.S.C.S.). They are also available in various secondary sources such as: CCH Standard Federal Tax Reporter (Commerce Clearing House) [Reserve--KF6285 .C6] and United States Tax Reporter (Research Institute of America) [Reserve--KF6285 .P74.]. CCH Standard Federal Tax Reporter and United States Tax Reporter provide not only a copy of the statute but also include a great deal of helpful material such as explanation, regulations, and annotations. Statutes are also available through either Westlaw or Lexis. In Westlaw, the database for United States Code Annotated is 'USCA.' In Lexis, the source for the United States Code Service is 'USCODE.' The United States Code is also available through the World Wide Web. However, care should always be exercised when using web databases. You should always check to see who is responsible for loading the information to insure its accuracy and the currency of the material. The Office of the Law Revision Counsel of the United States House of Representatives ( maintains the United States Code on the web. If you read their statement regarding currency, you discover that: "Titles 1 through 25 of this database are currently up-to-date through January 26, 1998 [and] Titles 26 through 50 of this database are currently up-to-date through January 6, 1997." This makes the site less useful when researching the subject of taxation.

B. Legislative Histories

Legislative histories are used to ascertain the intent of the legislature with regard to a particular law. Legislative histories consist of reports, hearings, debates, Presidential messages, and drafts of the bill. House of Representative, Senate, or Conference Committee Reports are generally considered the most valuable portions of a legislative history. Reports are issued by the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee. Where there is disagreement between the House and Senate version there will also be a Conference Committee Report. Because of the difficulty in identifying and assembling the many and diverse documents that make up a legislative history, compiled legislative histories can save vast amounts of time. Usually, compiled legislative histories will contain an index. Many legislative histories have been compiled in the area of taxation, principally by Professor Reams. They may also be found by using Nancy P. Johnson's Sources of Compiled Legislative Histories: A Bibliography of Government Documents, Periodical Articles and Books, 1st Congress-94th Congress [Reference--KF42.2 1979 .J64].

C. Regulations

Regulations have the force and affect of laws. They are usually upheld when challenged. They are issued and amended in the form of Treasury Decisions. Treasury Decisions are drafted by the Internal Revenue Service but must be approved by the Secretary of the Treasury. The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service recognize a hierarchy of authority. In other words, some precedent is more equal than others. Treasury Decisions must be followed by the Internal Revenue Service. In authority, Treasury Decisions rank above all other rulings that are promulgated by the Internal Revenue Service. Final Treasury Decisions, or regulations, are codified at Title 26 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Like Statutes, regulations also appear in secondary sources such as: CCH Standard Federal Tax Reporter (Commerce Clearing House) [Reserve--KF6285 .C6] and United States Tax Reporter (Research Institute of America) [Reserve--KF6285 .P74]. These services not only print regulations but also explain and annotate them. Both the CFR and the Federal Register (FR) are available through Lexis and Westlaw. In Westlaw the database for CFR is 'CFR' while the database for the FR is 'FR.' In the Lexis the source for CFR is 'CFR' while the database for FR is 'FEDREG.' Both services claim currency of coverage, however extent of coverage may also be an issue. For example, the Lexis source, 'FEDREG' begins from July 1980 as does the Westlaw database 'FR' while the Federal Register begins publication in 1936. Where the history of a regulation must be tracked, you should be aware of the limitations of both Lexis and Westlaw. The Government Printing Office (GPO) together with the National Archives and Records Administration's Office have provided web based access to the CFR ( and the Federal Register ( Because GPO also publishes the paper version of the CFR and the FR, it greatly increases the authority of the electronic version. Once again, it is necessary to check the load date of any information derived from the web.

D. IRS Pronouncements 1. Cumulative Bulletin

The Internal Revenue Bulletin [Reserve--T 22.25/a:] is the weekly publication of the Internal Revenue Service to announce official rules and procedure. It is consolidated and published as the Cumulative Bulletin. The Cumulative Bulletin [Govt. Documents-T 22.25:] is a consolidation of all items of a permanent nature published in the weekly bulletins. The series began in 1919 with volume 1 and is generally issued in two bound volumes per year. Occasionally, an additional volume is issued to publish the full text of Congressional Committee Reports. Both Westlaw and Lexis have comprehensive databases that contain both cases and administrative materials. The Westlaw database is 'FTX-CRELS' while the Lexis source for Federal Taxation is 'FEDTAX.' Both services have databases consisting solely of the Cumulative Bulletin, for Westlaw the database is 'FTX-CB,' while for Lexis the source is 'CB.' In addition, Westlaw has specific databases covering specific administrative materials. For example the Westlaw database covering General Counsel Memorandum is 'FTX-GCM.' In addition, the Internal Revenue Service ( has placed the Internal Revenue Bulletin ( on its website. It is available from 1996-2002.

2. Action on Decisions (AOD'S) 

When the Internal Revenue Service loses a case in the Tax Court, the Federal District Court, the Court of Claims, or the U.S. Court of Appeals, the Tax Litigation Division of the Office of Chief Counsel prepares an Action on Decisions memorandum directed to the Chief Counsel. It details the reasons behind either a possible acquiescence or nonacquiescence in the decision of the Court and the possible IRS appeal of a judicial decision favorable to taxpayers. Actions on Decisions are publicly disclosed if issued after December 24, 1981. They are available in IRS Positions Reporter (Commerce Clearing House) [KF6300 .A833].

3. Acquiescence/Nonacquiescence 

An Acquiescence is a formal announcement by the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service that the IRS will abide by the decision of the Tax Court regarding issues decided against the IRS. A Nonacquiescence indicates the IRS will not abide by the decision of the Tax Court. Finally, an Acquiescence in Result Only is an announcement that the IRS Commissioner will not file an appeal in a particular case, although the Commissioner disagrees with the reasoning with respect to an issue or issues. They can be found in the Internal Revenue Bulletin [Reserve--T 22.25/a:] or the Cumulative Bulletin (Government Printing Office) [Govt. Documents--T 22.25:].

4. Announcements 

An Announcement may be found in the Internal Revenue Bulletin [Reserve--T 22.25/a:] and the Cumulative Bulletin [Govt. Documents--T 22.25:]. Announcements are not interpretations of the law. They merely advise taxpayers that the IRS is studying an area of taxation.

5. Determination Letter 

A Determination Letter is a written statement by a District Director in response to a written request by an individual or an organization to a specific set of facts. It is issued only if the determination can be made on the basis of clearly established rules.

6. General Counsel's Memorandum 

A General Counsel's Memorandum is prepared by the Office of Chief Counsel to the IRS in response to a formal request for legal advice from the Assistant Commissioner of Internal Revenue. It is a legal memorandum which reviews proposed revenue rulings, technical advice memorandum and private letter rulings. It contains an analysis of the issues, recommendations, and opinions of the Office of the Chief Counsel. They are available in IRS Positions Reporter (Commerce Clearing House) [KF6300 .A833].

7. Information Releases 

Information Releases concern matters about which the public needs to know and that have nationwide significance. They are issued either by the National Office or by a District Director. Information Releases call attention to well established interpretations or principles of tax law without applying those principles to a specific set of facts. Information Releases can be located in the Internal Revenue Bulletin [Reserve--T 22.25/a:].

8. IRS Letter Rulings, AKS Private Letter Rulings 

Private Letter Rulings are issued to individual and corporate taxpayers. They cannot be used as precedent except by the individual or organization to whom issued. Despite this, they can be quite useful in indicating the approach of the Internal Revenue Service toward a particular fact situation. By applying for a Letter Ruling, it is possible to obtain an advance ruling from the IRS in which the IRS will state its views of the proposed course of action. The IRS is bound by that statement. The Internal Revenue Service will not issue rulings regarding issues that are clearly and adequately addressed by the published authorities. Private Letter Rulings are available only after October 31, 1976 in private services such as IRS Letter Rulings Reporter (Commerce Clearing House) [Reserve--KF6289 .A353].

9. Revenue Procedures 

Revenue Procedures are official statements by the National Office regarding Federal Tax procedure. They can be found in the Internal Revenue Bulletin [Reserve--T 22.25/a:], the Cumulative Bulletin [Govt. Documents--T 22.25:], and the private services such as United States Tax Reporter (Research Institute of America) [Reserve--KF6285 .P74.].

10. Revenue Rulings 

Revenue Rulings present the conclusions of the IRS on the application of the law to a given set of facts. They are written by the National Office, often in response to a taxpayer's request. They do have some precedential value because the Internal Revenue Service is bound by the Revenue Ruling until it is revoked. They are available in the Internal Revenue Bulletin [Reserve--T 22.25/a:], the Cumulative Bulletin [Govt. Documents--T 22.25:], as well as several private services such as CCH Standard Federal Tax Reporter (Commerce Clearing House) [Reserve--KF6285 .C6].

11. Technical Advice 

Technical Advice regarding the interpretation and proper application of the tax laws is furnished by the National Office to the District Office. It is given in connection with the examination of a specific taxpayers return or refund claim.

12. Technical Memorandum 

Technical Memorandum are drafted by the Legislative and Regulations Division of the Office of Chief Counsel in connection with proposed Treasury Decisions or regulations. Technical Memorandum can be located in IRS Positions Reporter (Commerce Clearing House) [KF6300 .A833].

13. Decisions 

The United States Tax Court was established in 1924 as the Board of Tax Appeals. It was created to decide controversies between the taxpayer and the Commissioner. Originally the U.S. Tax Court was an independent agency in the Executive Branch. In 1942 the Board of Tax Appeals became the Tax Court of the United States. The Tax Reform Act of 1969 gave the Tax Court the status of a legislative court under Article I of the Constitution. The Tax Court of the United States was renamed the U.S. Tax Court. Tax Court reported decisions are those which are published by the official United States Tax Court Reports [Govt. Documents--JU11.7:]. Not all decisions of the United States Tax Court are officially published in the U.S. Tax Court Reports. Unreported decisions are known as Memorandum Decisions. These decisions are available only through private services such as Tax Court Memorandum Decisions (Commerce Clearing House) [LC Collection--KF6280.A23 C62]. In addition to the tax court, a number of other courts have jurisdiction in tax controversies: District Court, Claims Court, Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court.

III. Secondary Sources

Secondary Sources consist of citators, encyclopedias, looseleaf services, treatises, legal periodicals, and surveys of current developments. Each of these resources seeks to draw together the statutes, regulations, pronouncements, and decisions and present an explanation of the law regarding an issue of taxation.

A. Citators

The purpose of a citator is to give the subsequent history of a statute, court decision, or ruling. It is to learn how later decisions and rulings have dealt with the same issue. Most importantly, citators are used to discover whether the decision or ruling has been overruled or superseded. Of the two citators, Commerce Clearing House's Standard Federal Tax Reporter: Citator [Reserve--KF6285.C6 1982 Cit.] and Research Institute of America's Federal Taxes: Citator [Reserve--KF6282.5 .P75], the latter is the better resource. In addition, there are a number of publications by Shepard's/McGraw-Hill, such as Shepard's Federal Tax Citations [Reading Room--KF6280.5 .S46], which give the subsequent history of the statute, court decision, or ruling. Finally, there is the Internal Revenue Services' Bulletin Index-Digest: Income Tax [Govt. Documents--T 22.25/5:]which, although it acts as a citator, it is limited because it cites only to Internal Revenue Service material.

B. Encyclopedias

Legal encyclopedias provide the non-expert an overview of federal taxation. American Jurisprudence 2d [Reading Room--KF154 .A42] issues two volumes annually (volumes 34 and 34A) on the subject of taxation. Corpus Juris Secundum [Reading Room--KF154 .C56] also provides a summary of federal taxation, although it is not revised on an annual basis. The two volumes, vol. 84 and 85, were last revised in 1954. However, the volumes are supplemented by pocket parts.

C. Looseleafs

A variety of looseleaf services are devoted to the subject of Federal Taxation. For example, there are five different services on Income Taxation: CCH Standard Federal Tax Reporter (Commerce Clearing House) [Reserve--KF6285 .C6], United States Tax Reporter (Research Institute of America) [Reserve--KF6285 .P74.], Law of Federal Income Taxation (Callaghan's) [Reserve--KF6365 .M4], Tax Management Portfolios (Bureau of National Affairs) [Reserve--KF6289.A1 T35], and Federal Tax Coordinator 2d (Research Institute of America) [KF6285 .R44]. Each has different strengths and researchers new to this area of the law should familiarize themselves with each service. Both CCH Standard Federal Tax Reporter (Commerce Clearing House) and United States Tax Reporter (Research Institute of America) are arranged by code section, to which is added the regulations, annotations to IRS pronouncements and court decisions, and an explanatory section. It is a matter of contention as to which service gives the most complete annotations. CCH Standard Federal Tax Reporter is, to this point, the preferred source of the experienced practioner. The remaining services follow a more traditional format. They are divided by subject, in which there is a systematic discussion of the issue. The Federal Tax Coordinator 2d is probably the best service for the inexperienced practitioner. In addition to the looseleaf services, each publisher issues a variety of pamphlets in the area of Federal Taxation, such as CCH's Dictionary of Deductions (Commerce Clearing House). Commerce Clearing House publishes approximately 40 handbooks on an annual basis. A significant number of these handbooks are in the field of taxation. Both the code and the regulations are issued annually by Commerce Clearing House. There are also pamphlets issued on specific subjects, Home Deductions and on specific laws, Revenue Reconciliation Act of 1990.

D. On-Line Catalogs -- Treatises

The point of access to a library's collection is its catalog. Increasingly, libraries have combined their catalogs. This means that you may wish to restrict the scope of your search to your home library's catalog if you wish only to know what is immediately available or you may wish to search a consortium catalog for maximum coverage. The Law Library belongs to two consortiums. The first covers all of the Washington University Hilltop Campus Libraries, except the Medical School Library. The second covers the St. Louis University Libraries, and the University of Missouri Libraries (Columbia, Kansas City, Rolla and St. Louis). You may also directly request that circulating items from any of these libraries be delivered to the Law Library Circulation Desk for your pick-up.

1. Washington University Law Library Use this catalog to search the holdings of just the Law Library. Each library has different loan rules that depend upon the status of the patron. For example, if you borrow a book through the MOBIUS UNION CATALOG, the loan period is 21 days, with one renewal. The loan period for a Washington University law student borrowing an item from the Washington University Law Library is 4 weeks, with 2 renewals. Obviously, it is to your advantage to borrow materials from your home library. Other advantages to using your home library are speed of access (you don't have to wait for the delivery of the item) and you can identify subject headings before searching one of the other, larger catalogs, which leads to a more efficient search. The Washington University Law Library catalog also has local course reserve information, a form to renew books that have been checked out from Washington University Hilltop Campus Libraries and links to Washington University Law School Web pages.

2. Washington University Campus Libraries This catalog includes records of all Hilltop Campus Libraries. It is useful when you are doing multi-disciplinary work and you would like to broaden your search to include items that are not likely to be in the law collection. This includes materials housed in the Kopolow Business Library in the John M. Olin School of Business. You may request that items be delivered to the Law Library Circulation Desk by clicking on the "Request" button. Delivery takes approximately three business days.

3. MOBIUS Union Catalog Mobius is a consortium of academic libraries in the state of Missouri. It is designed to allow patrons to search and request items for delivery to the patrons home library from the member library's collection. The member libraries are: the four campuses of the University of Missouri, St. Louis University, and Washington University Hilltop and West Campus libraries. It is wise to begin your search in the catalog of your home library. If the title you want is not available at the home library or the Washington University Campus Libraries, your search can be transferred to the Mobius central catalog through a pull down menu located near the top of the page. When you find the item you want, click on the line indicating "Mobius libraries have this item". If the book is not available at Washington University, click on REQUEST THIS ITEM. You will be asked to identify your institution (WASH U) and enter your name, ID number, PIN, and pickup location where you want the item to be delivered. Submit the request and it will be forwarded to one of the libraries which has an available copy. The loan period for all Mobius materials is 3 weeks. You may renew items once. If you do not return books promptly, you will be billed and your borrowing privileges will be blocked. Faculty, graduate students, and staff are allowed a maximum of 20 requests or checkouts at any time. The Law Library, which you should choose as the pickup location, will notify you when the requested item arrives. You can also use the View Your Library Record function in the Washington University local catalog to check on the status of your requests. Delivery takes approximately five to seven business days.

4. World Cat World Cat allows you access to the combined catalogs of approximately 25,000 U.S. and foreign libraries. This includes books, journals (it does not include the text of articles), videos and other materials. If you find something in WorldCat that is not held by a Washington University or MOBIUS library, PLEASE do not use the interlibrary loan function on WorldCat to request the book. Please submit your request to the Law Library's Interlibrary Loan Department.

5. Interlibrary Loan (ILL) 

You can use Interlibrary Loan to request books and articles that are not available on campus or through one of the consortiums. Forms to request an item via Interlibrary Loan are available at the Circulation Desk and on the Law Library's Web page (/library/pages.aspx?id=1138). It is important that the holdings of other libraries on campus be checked before making a request. Use Olin Library's 'Library Catalog: All Hilltop Campus Libraries' ( on the Internet to check the holdings of other campus libraries. Where items are available on campus, they will not be requested via Interlibrary Loan. PLEASE NOTE: It can take several weeks for an ILL request to be filled, if it can be filled at all (many libraries will not lend reference material or microforms). Please plan accordingly when doing your research.

6. IndexMaster Yet another way in which to identify legal treatise is IndexMaster. This service is available through the Law Library Web Subscriptions (/library/pages.aspx?id=1162). Please note that a search in IndexMaster only serves to identify those treatise which contain a discussion of your subject. It is a collection of the indexes and tables of contents from legal treatises. You may search by keyword, topic, title, or author. If you perform a search in IndexMaster using the keywords 'tax' and 'base,' you will retrieve 1036 publications. You will then have to view the index or the table of contents to determine if the publications serve your needs. Once again, after you determined that a particular publication serves your needs, you then need to identify which library has the publication. For example, among the listed publication in the example above is Zolman Cavitch's Business Organizations with Tax Planning, published by the Matthew Bender. After viewing the table of contents and determining that it is on point, you must then search in the Law Library's catalog to find out that the Law Library does have this publication and that it is house in the library's lc collection. [LC Collection--KF1366 .C3]

E. Legal Periodicals

There are two periodical indexes currently devoted to the subject of law that can be used to identify legal journal articles. All paper versions of these indexes are located in the low stacks in the Reading Room. Each of the two indexes has a parallel in an electronic format. The electronic indexes are limited as to the time period they cover. Both electronic versions begin in approximately 1980. The Index to Legal Periodical Literature, in six volumes, covers the period of December 1886 to 1937. It represents the first attempt to systematically index legal literature. The Subject Index is based upon the system followed by West Publishing Co., in the American Digests. There is also an Author Index as well as an index by Table of Case. The Index to Legal Periodicals began in the year 1908. It continues to the present. The number of indexed periodicals began with 39 periodicals in 1908 to over 500 periodicals at present. It contains a Subject Index, based originally upon the West American Digest system, an Author Index and a Table of Cases. Beginning in the year 1980, it contains a Table of Statutes. The electronic parallel to the Index to Legal Periodicals is WilsonWeb. From the Law School's Homepage, click on 'Information Resources,' then on 'Law Library,' and then on the icon 'Web Subscriptions.' The icon is located among the gold toolbars on the left hand side of the page. When you click on the link to the 'Web Subscriptions,' the resulting window will have two frames. Scroll down in the left hand frame until you see 'Index to Legal Periodicals.' Click on 'Index to Legal Periodicals.' The Current Law Index began in the year 1980. The Current Law Index is divided into four parts: Subject Index, Author or Title Index, Table of Cases and Table of Statutes. It indexes over 700 periodicals. The electronic version of the Current Law Index is LegalTrac. In addition to the periodicals indexed, LegalTrac also indexes legal newspapers and newsletters. From the Law School's Homepage, click on 'Information Resources,' then on 'Law Library,' and then on the icon 'Web Subscriptions.' The icon is located among the gold toolbars on the left hand side of the page. When you click on the link to the 'Web Subscriptions, the resulting window will have two frames. Scroll down in the left hand frame until you see 'LegalTrac SearchBank.' Click on 'LegalTrac SearchBank.' In addition there are specialized indexes such as Gersham Goldstein's Index to Federal Tax Articles [Reserve--KF6271 .G64] and Commerce Clearing House's Federal Tax Articles [Reserve--KF6285 .F39]. Finally, Warren, Gorham and Lamont publishes a number of digests on different subjects which include references to periodical articles on taxation, such as The Journal of Taxation Digest [KF6271 .J68].

F. Current Developments

Current information is of tremendous importance to the tax practioner. As noted above, there are numerous services on income taxation. Associated with each of these is an update which informs the practitioner of current developments. The Law Library has the following publications: Bender's Federal Tax Week (Matthew Bender) [KF6285 .B45], Tax Management Memorandum (BNA Tax Management Portfolios) [Reserve--KF6289.A1 T35 Memo], Federal Tax Weekly (Commerce Clearing House)[Reserve--KF 6285 .B45], Washington Tax Review (BNA Primary Sources) [Reserve--KF6365 .B842], and Weekly Alert (Research Institute of America)[KF6285 .R44].

IV. Electronic Resources

The great advantage to searching on Westlaw or Lexis is that the full text of the document is searched. Both Lexis and Westlaw are a resource to legal resources such as cases, statutes, administrative materials, journals, and legal newspapers. They are also a resource for business material such as company, industry and product information. Both services also include newspaper databases that can be used for general and political news. Unless you specialize in a particular area and become familiar with the files appropriate to your subject, it is difficult to construct a search for maximum efficiency at a minimum cost. Both services provide their users with an 800 number, which will connect you with a reference attorney, whose job is to help you identify the proper database and construct an efficient search. The number for Westlaw is (800) 937-8529. The number for Lexis is (800) 543-6862.  It is important to be aware of the scope of coverage; for example, the Westlaw database 'ALLSTATES' contains documents dated after 1944 from the state or local courts of all 50 states and the District of Columbia. For both Lexis and Westlaw, check the scope note for coverage.  There is a tremendous amount of material available through the World Wide Web. It should be used with care as there may not be the editorial attention to detail that is available with Lexis or Westlaw. Try and discover who is responsible for the original load of data and the updating of the database. Quite often web pages will have the notation "Last Updated" at the bottom of the page followed by a date. This date indicates the last time that the web page was edited. THOMAS system ( was intended to make federal legislative information available to the general public via the Internet. House and Senate bills, public laws, the Congressional Record, and committee reports are all available in full on THOMAS. Documents are loaded and maintained by the Library of Congress. The text of bills, the Congressional Record and Committee Reports are transmitted electronically to the Library of Congress from the Government Printing Office (GPO). They are then made available on line. This ensures a high level of accuracy as well as currency.

V. Reference Help in the Law LibraryA. Legal Research

The best book on the subject of federal tax research is Gail Levin Richmond's Federal Tax Research: Guide to Materials and Techniques [Reserve--KF241.T38 Q38 1990]. However, the premier resource available to the non-expert, and often the expert, is the Law Librarian. The Law Librarian has an intimate acquaintance with the law library, a greater understanding of the library's resources and a better feel for the proper strategy by which to approach a particular issue. A simple question asked of the Law Librarian can open the resources of the law library and save vast amounts of time for the researcher. If you need help with your research, feel free to contact any one of the Reference Librarians.

B. Law Library Reference Staff

Dorie Bertram        Room 455G - 935-6484 -;
Hyla Bondareff,     Room 455H - 935-6434 -;
Mark Kloempken, Room 453 -    935-7124 -;
Tove Klovning,      Room 455K - 935-6443 -
Wei Luo,                Room 257A - 935-8045 -
Aris Woodham,     Room 455J -  935-4440 -;
Reference Desk,    935-6459