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Federal Tax Research: Judicial Opinions

This guide provides information on federal tax law and identifies pertinent print and online resources available through the NYU Law Library.

Additional Instruction on Case Law Research

Below are links to sources offering instruction on case law research.

Tax Case Law Basics

A range of courts–including the U.S. Tax Court, U.S. Ct. of Fed. Claims, U.S. district cts., and U.S. appeal cts.–adjudicate disputes involving federal taxation. So, reporters publishing the decisions of these courts will offer judicial opinions relating to federal tax issues.

The U.S. Tax Court issues three types of decisions:

  • Formally published decisions: Also called TC Opinions or "division opinions." They are published in the Tax Court Reports.
  • Memorandum decisions:  Also called TC Memos or Memo Opinions: They are unpublished decisions, generally involving settled legal issues. They are still often cited though. and
  • Summary decisions These decisins involve controversies of below $50,000. They are not precedential.

"The U.S. Board of Tax Appeals is the predecessor of the United States Tax Court. Prior to 1942, the Board of the Tax Appeals was the prepayment forum for taxpayers who wanted judicial review of the Internal Revenue Service’s determination of deficiencies in income, excess profits, and estate and gift taxes." (U.S. Board of Tax Appeals, IRM §

Fore more information, see McDermott's very helpful Types of Tax Court Opinions and Their Precedential Effect



U.S. Suprme Court decisions are binding on the IRS. For opinions issued against the IRS from other courts, the IRS will often issue an announcement on its position. See AODs.