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BRASS Business Guide - TAXATION

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Last reviewed: July 1, 2023 to June 30, 2024
Next Review: 2026-2027


Librarians should be familiar with sources for the most common tax questions listed in this guide.

  • Questions about tax generally can be grouped according to entity; the answer will depend on whether the tax affects a person, a business, or a non-profit organization.
  • Taxes can be levied by various types of jurisdictions, so determining whether the tax in question derives from a local or municipal tax, county or state tax, federal tax, or other country will lead one to the authoritative source.

Accounting and tax questions are often related and research of one area may include research in the other. Consult the BRASS Business Guide - Accounting guide for more information on that topic.

Online Glossaries - Tax Vocabulary

Terms & Basics


The terminology of taxation is specialized, extensive, changes frequently with new tax laws, and can have legal interpretations, only a few of those terms are defined here with references to more extensive glossaries. Included also are frequently-referenced tax publications. Unless otherwise specified, definitions taken from Lavin

Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) - Regulations of federal agencies, including the U. S. Department of the Treasury.

Committee Reports - Used to research intent of tax law and the IRC (Internal Revenue Code).

Cumulative Bulletin - Published semi-annually by the IRS, includes treasury decisions, revenue rulings, tax treaties, statutes, committee reports, Revenue Procedures, and administrative notices.

Excise Tax - A fixed fee on goods and services, can be for estate, gift, sales, occupational licenses, or businesses. (Strauss's Handbook, 2nd Ed., pp.214-5)

Internal Revenue Service - An agency of the Department of Treasury responsible for administering and managing taxation, and federal tax law. (Moss)

IRC, Internal Revenue Code of 1986 - The current tax law and its amendments. (Strauss's Handbook, 2nd Ed., p.220)

Revenue Ruling - Published responses to specific tax queries from the IRS. May stem originally from Private Letter Rulings.

Property Tax - Can be for income, property, corporate, or individual. (Strauss's Handbook, 2nd Ed., pp.214-5)

Tax - "an enforced contribution, extracted pursuant to legislative authority... for the purposes of raising revenue to be used for public or governmental purposes." Rev. Rul. 57-345, 1957-2 CB 132. (Minars & Westin, p. 428)

Tax Credit - Directly reduces a tax liability for that year, such as a credit for machinery or paying estimated taxes for coming year. Can be refundable or nonrefundable. (Minars & Westin, p. 88)

Treasury Decisions (T.D.) - Tax regulations emanating from the IRS, numbered sequentially. Cumulated annually into the Code of Federal Regulations 26.

U.S. Tax Court Reports - Published Regular Decisions of federal tax cases heard by full court. Memorandum Decisions are unpublished decisions of cases heard by single judge.

Original compiler(s) and previous maintainers

Previous maintainers include:

Charles Allan, Texas State University, San Marcos

Adele Barsh, University of California, San Diego

Jennifer Boettcher, Georgetown University Library

Paul Brothers, University of Alabama

Leticia Camacho, Brigham Young University

Ann Fiegen,California State University, San Marcos

Amy Jansen, Southern Connecticut State University

Rachel Montanez, Ocean County Library, Jackson Branch

Lee Pike, University of Alabama

Special acknowledgement goes to Edith Gilbreath for her initial work for this page and to Tony Lin for support in locating some of these sources.

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