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Nonprofit Law


Legal Databases

The Checkpoint database exclusively contains materials related to tax research.  In addition, a number of legal databases have tax libraries, listed below. 

Secondary Sources

Federal Statutes and Regulations

The Internal Revenue Code (IRC) is codified in Title 26 of the United State Code (USC).  Sections of the IRC correspond to USC Title 26; e.g., IRC 501 is 26 USC 501.

IRS and Department of Treasury regulations are in Titles 26 and 31 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).  Treas. Reg. numbers correspond to CFR Title 26; e.g. 

IRS: Information for Nonprofits

IRS Rulings and Guidance

The IRS Office of Chief Counsel produces a number of types of rulings and guidance.  Only rulings and procedures published by the IRS in the Internal Revenue Bulletin (I.R.B.) are considered precedent, though even these have less force than regulations. (Until 2008 the I.R.B. was consolidated twice a year into the Cumulative Bulletin (C.B.))  Other rulings and guidance cannot be cited as precedent.  However, they are still valuable as they explain the agency's view on issues. 

Below are links to materials and explanations that are freely available from the IRS.  All of these documents are available on multiple legal databases as well (see Legal Databases above), though databases vary in how far back their coverage of historical materials is.  For a much more through explanation of these documents and guidance on which databases contain particular documents, see NYU's extensive guide to Federal Tax Research.

US Tax Court

The US Tax Court is a specialized court that only hears federal tax cases.  It is based in Washington, DC, but judges travel nationally to designated Places of Trial for trials.  Although taxpayers may file in federal District Courts or at the Court of Federal Claims, many choose the Tax Court because they do not have to pay a deficiency before being heard.  

Note: Only Memorandum and T.C. Opinions are precedential.  Bench and Summary Opinions may not be cited as precedent.

After a Tax Court decision, the IRS may issue a form of guidance called acquiescence or nonacquiescence describing whether it agrees or disagrees with the decision.

In addition to the below, Checkpoint and VitalLaw have US Tax Court decisions.

State tax issues

States and localities also grant tax exemptions to some nonprofits.  Applying for this is a separate process and varies from state to state.  In addition to the below, see Legal Databases (the first box on this page).