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Federal Tax Research: JCT Publications (Including Blue books)

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

JCT Publications Basics

"The Joint Committee on Taxation is a nonpartisan committee of the United States Congress . . . The Joint Committee Staff is closely involved with every aspect of the tax legislative process." (JCT Website)

"Joint Committee Bluebooks: Generally, at the end of each Congress, the Joint Committee [on Taxation] Staff . . . prepare explanations of the enacted tax legislation. The explanation follows the chronological order of the tax legislation as signed into law. For each provision, the document includes a description of present law, explanation of the provision, and effective date." (JCT Website)

"On major pieces of legislation, its staff publishes a General Explanation of the enacted legislation. This post-enactment report has become known as the 'Blue Book,' and it often contains comprehensive analysis and explanation of the legislation." (The Blue Book, Portfolio 100-3d, Bloomberg Law)

"Although technically the Blue Book is not a part of legislative history, because it is a post-enactment document, if is often considred in determining legislative intent at the time of enactment." (The Blue Book, Portfolio 100-3d, Bloomberg Law)

Publication of Blue Books: "The JCT published Blue Books from about 1970 to 1987, then discontinued them for almost 10 years, and revived the Blue Book in about 1996 during the 104th Congress . . . During the first era, 1970–1987, Blue Books were ordinarily legislation-specific, published for major pieces of tax legislation, and ad hoc. Blue Books issued during the second era, 1996 to present, are typically annual, end-of-year compilations that explain tax legislation enacted throughout the year. Thus, there is typically onlyone per year." (The Blue Book, Portfolio 100-3d, Bloomberg Law)

Citation, JCT Publications

The following citation resources may be informative.

  • Bluebook R. 13.4, Reports, Documents, and Committee Prints

  • TaxCite, Pt. 1, B4, Congressional Documents ("General explanations of major tax reform acts published by the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation are known as Bluebooks, i.e. '76 Bluebook,' '86 Bluebook, and these documents may be referred to in short citation forms accordingly. However,  . . . the first citation to one of these Bluebooks should be a complete citation indicating the full title of the report and the source.")


Abbreviations, JCT Publications

Below is a pertinent abbreviation.

  • Joint Committee on Taxation=Joint Comm. on Taxation or JCT

Sources of JCT Publications

Below are links to a selection of online resources offering Bluebooks and other JCT publications.