Tax Law

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Summarize the sources and objectives of modern income tax statutes. The primary source of US tax law is Congress. Power to initiate tax legislation is vested in the House of Representatives but all tax bills must pass both houses and be signed into law by the President. Many times the details of the legislation are not dictated by Congress, but left to the Treasury Department which adopts regulations (that have the force of law) to spell out the details as well as interpret the statutes and provide guidance on the law. In addition, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issues rulings that address the application of the law to specific fact situations.

The court system is also involved in making tax law through decisions about specific fact situations. The main tax courts are the US Tax Court and the District Courts of the US. These decisions can (and do) overturn and change tax provisions based on other decisions, as well as the legislative history of the particular legislation.

The primary objective of the federal income tax law is to raise revenues for government operations. In recent years, the federal government has broadened its use of the tax laws to accomplish various economic and social policy objectives. Economic Objectives

The federal income tax law is used as a fiscal policy tool to stimulate private investment, reduce unemployment, and mitigate the effects of inflation on the economy. The federal income tax law also attempts to stimulate and encourage certain activities, specialized industries, and small businesses.

Social Objectives
The tax law attempts to encourage or discourage certain socially desirable or undersirable activities. For example: Special tax-favored pension and profit-sharing plans have been created for employees and self-employed individuals to supplement the social security retirement system.

Compare and contrast GAAP and tax accounting. Explain why they are different.

GAAP accounting records all financial...
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