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Federal Tax Research: Tax Case Law Reporters (Online & Print)

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

Tax Case Law Reporters

Any federal reporter publishing decisions of courts adjudicating federal tax disputes can contain judicial tax case law. Below are links to a selection of reporters focusing on cases involving federal tax issues. For the most part, the titles of the reporters inform on the types of cases covered by the individual publications.

Abbreviations, Tax Case Law

Below are pertinent abbreviations.

  • American Federal Tax Reports, 2nd=A.F.T.R.2d (RIA)
  • Board of Tax Appeals Memorandum Decisions=B.T.A.M. or B.T.A. Mem. Dec.
  • Commissioner=Comm’r.
  • Reports of United States Board of Tax Appeals=B.T.A.
  • Reports of the United States Tax Courts=T.C.
  • Tax Court Memorandum Decisions=T.C.M. (RIA) or (CCH))
  • Tax Court Reported Decisions=Tax Ct. Rep. Dec. (RIA)
  • Tax Court Reporter= T.C.R. (CCH) or (RIA)
  • United States Tax Cases=U.S.T.C.

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  • Memorandum decisions:  Also called TC Memos or Memo Opinions: They are unpublished decisions, generally involving settled legal issues.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.
  • Summary decisions These decisions 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 They are not precedential.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 § 4.10.7.2.9.1)

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