ORGANIZATIONS, SCHOOLS AND GOVERNMENT
American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC)
This site contains both a public home page (reviewed here) and a private home page for ACTEC members. Of interest to tax practitioners is the extensive list of links to legal resources and legal associations, such as the American Bar Association virtual committee on business valuation, U.S. Supreme Court decisions and the State Bar of California. Also helpful are pamphlets that address various legal issues, such as Wills: Why You Should Have One and the Lawyers Role in Its Preparation . Clicking on the "Whats New" heading leads the user to recent Internal Revenue Service administrative pronouncements, reported decisions and the Web Site of the Week. For the week of May 17, 1997, the site was "Information on Internet Tools" published by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (http://ianrwww.unl.edu/internet.html ).
Americans for Tax Reform
This is the home page of a national clearinghouse for a grass-roots taxpayers movement to limit and reform local, state and federal taxation. Currently the site contains these articles: "Straight Facts on Medicare," "The Hidden Tax Bite in Everything You Buy," "Cost of Government Day," "The Flat Tax" and "Social Security Reform."
Internet Law Library
This site contains the U.S. House of Representatives Internet Law Library and allows users to search the Internal Revenue Code and the Code of Federal Regulations. (Unfortunately, the searchable U.S. code is updated only through January 16, 1996, and titles 25 and 26 of the searchable federal regulations are out-of-date.) The site, which includes links to federal court decisions, rules, treaties and international law, says users should refer to the Federal Register —also linked—for proposed regulations and regulations recently adopted. Some federal court decisions (particularly recent ones) are available through the federal court decisions and rules Web pages. Researchers should be aware that other frequently used sites for searchable hypertext editions of the tax code are also out-of-date. For example, U.S. Tax Code On-Line (http://www.fourmilab.ch/ustax/ustax.html) is updated only through January 24, 1994.
Social Security Privatization
Recently completed by the Cato Institute, this is an interactive Web site devoted exclusively to Social Security reform that has a variety of information from printed books, articles, congressional testimony and speeches as well as audio and video material. Of most interest to CPA practitioners is the interactive benefits calculator that allows individuals to generate data quickly on their personal retirement benefit levels in both the Social Security system and in theoretical privately funded alternatives.
The home page of Tax Analysts, Inc., Arlington, Virginia, publishers of Tax Notes, State Tax Notes and International Tax Notes , has the following sections:
- Discussion Groups (http://www.tax.org/notes/default.htm). Tax Analysts currently sponsors 27 discussion groups to which practitioners can subscribe by e-mail from the site. A Tax Analysts staff member moderates each group. Some of the most relevant groups for practitioners are business tax issues; damage awards taxation; employment taxes; estate, gift and trusts; individual income taxes; insurance taxation; international taxation; partnership taxation; IRS practice; procedure; real estate; S corporations; and state and local taxes.
- Tax History Project (http://www.taxhistory.org). The primary online publication of the Tax History Project—established in 1995 to provide scholars, policy makers and the press with information on the history of U.S. taxation—is The Price of Civilization , which is focused on the Great Depression and World War II. It contains an extensive text archive of primary materials including documents from the Library of Congress, the National Archives and various presidential libraries. In addition, the site contains a Web archive of presidential tax returns, including those of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George Bush and Bill Clinton.
- Todays Tax News (http://www.tax.org/TodaysTaxNews/default.htm). Tax Analysts continually updates this site to provide users with the most recent tax laws and summaries of documents from the United States and other countries. This site contains news reports of interest to most tax practitioners. Past articles have included "IRS Official Discusses Subchapter S Projects," "AICPA Votes to Join NTAs Electronic Commerce Tax Initiative," "CPAs Question Offers in Compromise Procedures," "CPAs Discuss Intercompany Transactions," and "IRS, Social Security Studying FICA Noncompliance by Workers of State Entities."
- Tax Calendar (http://www.tax.org/calendar.htm). This site contains information about upcoming tax conferences held in the United States.
- Tax Clinic (http://www.tax.org/clinic/default.htm). The Tax Clinic consists of five law schools that offer free taxpayer assistance to taxpayers of limited means. The service is not available to members of the general public, however; the site has details on who can take advantage of this service and how.
- Tax Quotations (http://www.tax.org/quotes.htm). This site contains an extensive list of old and new quotations about tax that can be used in speeches and in written communications with clients and others.
The World Wide Web Virtual Library:
Maintained by the Indiana University School of Law, this site contains a fully searchable set of links to various tax organizations, tax proposals and tax information. It includes links to the following: "College and University Tax Page" (discussion of tax issues affecting institutions of higher education), "Estate Tax" (from Merrill Lynchs Personal Finance Center) and "Villanova Tax Law Compendium" (a collection of both student and faculty papers on tax law).
University Law Review Project
This site allows full-text search of two law journals in the topic "tax law," the State and Local Tax Lawyer and the Tax Lawyer . It should become even more useful as more tax-oriented journals are added.
Faris Law Site Map
Edited by Peter Faris, QC, of Australia, this site provides full-text searches and links to U.S. federal and state law located on one page. Of most interest to practitioners is the "U.S. Law" page, which allows full-text searches of U.S. Supreme Court decisions since 1937 by key word, title or phrase, and from volume 300 on by case citation. The U.S. Law page also allows key word searches of the decisions of the federal circuit, the D.C. circuit, the 11 circuit courts and selected states as well as a key word search of the annotated U.S. Constitution.
Law and Estate Planning Sites
on the Internet
Mark J. Welch, a California attorney, created this comprehensive site. It contains a list of U.S. estate planning, probate and trust attorneys who maintain Web sites, an extensive set of links to federal tax law sites (such as the IRC, tax regulations and the THOMAS legislative update site—U.S. legislative information), many estate planning Web sites (such as trusts and estates and an online estate tax insurance funding calculator) and many related Web sites (for example, those that cover death, dying and grief resources).
Professor Doernbergs Tax Law Web Sites
The most useful feature of this site is the tax law resources link, which leads to tax-related organizations, such as the Federation of Tax Administrators and the National Association of Enrolled Agents, and to general tax sites, such as Tax Bullets and the TAXFAX International Tax Homepage. In addition, the site includes academic course syllabi for Professor Doernbergs courses on individual taxation and international taxation at the Emory University School of Law in Atlanta.
Robert Clofines Estate Planning Page
Robert Clofine, an attorney from Pennsylvania, created this page to provide estate, tax and elder law and related financial planning information to consumers. Although the site contains links to other estate planners, the main thrust is a number of articles explaining the business, legal and tax implications of various estate planning techniques. Recently featured articles included "Selling Your Residence," "The Over 55 Exclusion," "Life Insurance & Estate Taxes," "Living Trusts Myths" and "Reasons to Use Living Trusts."
Tax and Accounting Sites Directory
Dennis Schmidt, associate professor of accounting at the University of Northern Iowa, created and maintains this excellent, well-organized site. It links CPAs and other users to relevant materials in these categories: federal tax law, tax help, tips and updates, state taxes, IRS sites, international tax, tax forms, finance and law and Web search. The federal tax law section provides links to the tax code, regulations, IRS administrative pronouncements (note that private letter rulings and some other documents are not publicly available on the Internet), federal court decisions and U.S. tax treaties. Particularly useful to practitioners is the Tax Discussions & Articles section, with links to tax newsgroups, tax mailing lists, tax articles by practicing CPAs, estate and tax planning articles by CPAs and lawyers, articles on Internet commerce and other miscellaneous tax articles.
Tax and Estate Planning Resources on the
World Wide Web
This site, maintained by Vincent L. Teahan, a New York attorney, contains a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of conducting tax and estate tax planning on the Web vs. the traditional hard-copy approach. Additionally it has links to tax and estate planning resources available on the Web.
Tax Court Rules and Practice and Procedure
Created by Professor James E. Maule of the Villanova University School of Law, this site contains a hypertext version of the current rules of practice and procedure for the U.S. Tax Court.
Tax-Related Primary Sources on the Internet
Professor Richard J. Joseph of the University of Texas at Austin Graduate School of Business has created a well-organized list of primary tax sources on the Internet. The links are organized by level of authority in these categories: statutory authority, judicial authority, administrative authority and state laws. Begun in May 1997, this site also contains alternative links where available, such as two links for the U.S. Constitution, six for the Internal Revenue Code and six for U.S. Supreme Court decisions. Practitioners who prefer the legalist approach to tax research should consult this site.
(same site as above, in a special "Netscape framed" format for users of current versions of the Netscape browser)
Frank McNeils site has received many favorable reviews in the accounting and tax press. Its a set of links to all types of useful tax information including IRS forms and documents, legislative and judicial resources, newsgroups, newsletters and mailing lists, public tax articles, professional tax articles, tax policy and changes and tax treaty resources. One of the most valuable aspects of the site is the "What Happened?" link that takes the user to an extensive list of daily and weekly tax resources and other timely updates, a link to recent IRS materials and tax treaties and protocols. Tax Resources also contains a link to various materials on the Social Security tax.
The Estate Planning Links Web Site
Dennis M. Kennedy, a Missouri attorney, created this site to provide information about estate planning and tax and elder laws. It consists of links to other estate planning, estate and gift tax, elder law, probate and trusts and charitable planning and philanthropy sites. In addition, it links to what Kennedy believes are excellent law-related sites and a number of his articles about the practice of law in the digital era.
The Tax Prophet
Robert L. Sommers, a San Francisco tax attorney, created this site. It contains links of special interest to practitioners such as "Hot Tax Topics and Frequently Asked Questions," "Publications" (a collection of newspaper columns, newsletters and scholarly articles written by Sommers, including his columns published in the San Francisco Examiner ), "Foreign Tax" (tax considerations for foreign citizens who invest in the United States) and "Interactive Tax Applications" (including "Determining Your Residency Status" and "Employee vs. Independent Contractor Flow Chart"). Will Yanceys Home Page
This excellent site was created by William Yancey, assistant professor of accounting at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. It is well organized with links to relevant materials in these categories: tax law and tax practice, accounting sites, finance and economics sites, employment and benefits law, general law and Web and computer resources. Accounting faculty will appreciate the Tax Education on the Web section, which contains links to various accounting and law faculty who maintain Web pages as well as to tax programs, courses and textbooks. Practitioners will appreciate Yanceys papers available on this site: "Research on the Internet for Tax Practitioners" and "Web Sites for Employment Law Research."
COMPANIES AND FIRMS
Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro, LLP Tax Page
Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro, a law firm with offices across the United States and in the Far East, maintains this site, which features links to tax articles and summaries written by PM&S tax partners and associates and the firms monthly Corporate Tax Bulletin . Users can perform key word searches using one of these indices: PM&S Tax Pages, State and Local Tax Bulletins and Estate Planning Memoranda. Currently, the site contains articles such as "IRS Adopts Check-the-Box Regulations Regulations," "U.S. Treasury Policy Paper on Internet Commerce" and "Section 83 Materials." A search of the PM&S Tax Pages on the topic "tax-free reorganizations" resulted in three useful documents: "Downstream Merger and Continuity of Interest Developments," "Proposed Regulations on Continuity of Shareholder Interest" and "Rationalizing the Treatment of Options and Warrants in Reorganizations."
Tax News & Views
Published by Deloitte & Touche and updated weekly, this site contains a weekly online newsletter, an archive of past editions and various timely articles. Recent articles include "Issues Brief: Capital Gains" and "The Clinton Tax Plan." In addition, users can search by key word. For example, a recent search of "divorce" resulted in 14 hits. Users can subscribe to Tax News & Views by e-mail directly from the site.
Tax Web: Federal & State Tax Forms
This Web site allows the user to download federal and state tax forms. It notes that as of December 31, 1996, 35 state and local jurisdictions had joined the federal government in making tax forms available over the Internet. In addition, at least 20 states allow taxpayers to request forms by fax. (Users should note that most electronic forms are in .PDF format and thus require the Adobe Acrobat Reader program to print.) This site lists the states that currently allow tax forms to be downloaded from their Internet sites, states that maintain an electronic bulletin board system and those that allow taxpayers to order tax forms by fax (faxback services). Also listed are addresses and telephone numbers of each state department of revenue (or similar government unit) from which taxpayers can order state tax forms.
RONALD E. FLINN, CPA, CMA, DBA, is associate professor of accounting, College of Business Administration, Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska.