Author Archives: Jason Zarin

10 Years and 6.5 Million Exempt Organization Returns Available

A new “Big Data” resource of tax material has recently been made available. On October 30, Public.Resource.Org made available 10 years’ worth — nearly 6.5 million — Exempt Organization Form 990 returns filed by exempt organizations and private foundations as well as unrelated business income (UBIT) returns filed by these organizations. The data set contains returns from January 2002 through September 2012, and will be updated monthly.

 

At this time, these returns are only available in pdf format, but Public.Resource.Org plan to extract the underlying data from these returns to make them more amenable for data analysis.

 

These records and more information about the data set are available at https://bulk.resource.org/irs.gov/eo/readme.html.

Food Policy Reminder

A friendly reminder —

Patrons are permitted to eat in the Williams Library, except in the Reading Room on the second floor.

As we head into finals, the Williams Library Reading Room becomes more popular and much more crowded. Please respect your fellow students and the silence of the Reading Room by eating in other permitted areas of the library.

For more information about the Library's food policy, please read Food & Drink Policies.

Best of luck on finals!

The Anti-Injunction Act

Today's argument at the US Supreme Court on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act concerns whether the "penalty" assessed under 26 U.S.C. §5000A against individuals who do not meet the minimum coverage provisions is a "tax" for the purposes of the Anti-Injunction Act.

The Anti-Injunction Act (26 U.S.C. §7421) provides that "Except as provided in sections 6015(e), 6212(a) and (c), 6213(a), 6225(b), 6246(b), 6330(e)(1), 6331(i), 6672(c), 6694(c), 7426(a) and (b)(1), 7429(b), and 7436, no suit for the purpose of restraining the assessment or collection of any tax shall be maintained in any court by any person, whether or not such person is the person against whom such tax was assessed." In other words, an individual cannot bring a suit to enjoin the Government from collecting or assessing a tax, and must instead wait until that tax is assessed against him.

This first day of argument, accordingly, is to determine whether or not the Supreme Court even has jurisdiction to hear this case — inasmuch as the "penalty" arising under the PPACA does not even take effect until 2014, if the "penalty" is a "tax", the Anti-Injunction Act would apply. Only individuals who have actually been assessed the "penalty" could bring a suit, and only then after they have met the administrative procedures required for any tax litigation.

An example of a nominal "penalty" that is considered to be a "tax" for the purposes of the Anti-Injunction Act is the Trust Fund Recovery Penalty that arises under 26 U.S.C. §6672. See, e.g., Kelly v. Lethert, 362 F.2d 629 (8th Cir. 1966).

The merit and amicus briefs on the Anti-Injunction Act are available at http://www.americanbar.org/publications/preview_home/11-398_Anti-InjuntionAct.html.

For more information about the Anti-Injunction Act, and tax collection generally, please refer to William D. Elliott, Federal Tax Collections, Liens, and Levies, (2d ed. 1995), available in print in the Library (KF6313 .E45 1995) and on Westlaw (WGL-COLLECT).

Supreme Court Hearings on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

Three days of Supreme Court arguments on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act begin on March 26, 2012.

Copies of the briefs are available from the Supreme Court's website at http://www.supremecourt.gov/docket/PPAACA.aspx.

Transcripts of the hearings will be available at the end of each day at http://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_transcripts.aspx.

On Friday, March 30, audio recordings of the hearings should be available at http://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_audio.aspx. It is possible, due to the public interest in these cases, that the audio recordings may be posted earlier. 

Tax Notes Today

The Library has added an electronic subscription to Tax Notes Today. Tax Notes Today has daily coverage of Federal tax law changes and policy shifts, special reports, analytical articles, and news concerning Congressional, Treasury, and IRS actions. 

Current faculty and students may subscribe to receive a daily email of Tax Notes Today. Archives of Tax Notes Today are also available — coverage goes back to 1987.

Tax Notes Today is accessible from the Tax Analysts database.

To set up an email subscription to Tax Notes Today, select "Edit my email profile", then click on "E-Mail Profile" on the following screen. Once you enter your email address, you will have the option of subscribing (or unsubscribing) to Tax Notes Today.

You can also set up daily or weekly email alerts to Tax Notes Today that will notify you of articles discussing particular Code sections or subject areas. 

New Tax Policy Research Guide

The law library has created a Tax Policy Research Guide. Tax policy involves considering issues not only of tax law, but also of economics and public finance. This new guide discusses a variety of available research sources, including working papers in economics, journals, and studies published by think tanks and research centers. The guide also discusses useful government sources for reports, including the Congressional committees involved in drafting tax and revenue legislation, the Congressional Budget Office, Government Accountability Office, the IRS, the White House Council of Economic Advisers, and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Many of these government agencies also publish quantitative data on taxpayers and revenue.

Congressional Quarterly Almanac

With coverage beginning in 1945, Congressional Quarterly Almanac provides narrative accounts of every major piece of legislation that lawmakers considered during a legislative session. Congressional Quarterly is arranged by topic and also has full-text searching.

Please note that Congressional Quarterly consists of narrative articles and editorial analyses. It does not contain the primary sources of legislative history (e.g., text of bills, committee reports), but it is a very useful finding aid for identifying these materials.

Congressional Quarterly makes it possible to easily and quickly trace and follow policies through decades of Congresses in a much more streamlined manner than trying to find the same information by using Westlaw, Lexis, or Proquest Congressional. For example, if you were interested in the history of health insurance policy, you could select “Managed care and health insurance” from the “Policy Tracker”, and you will be presented with the entire history of Congressional initiatives on this subject, whether or not they passed.

You can also browse by Congress or topic. Selecting a Congress will provide you with different subjects of legislation that were considered during that term.

Congressional Quarterly also provides various other tools. For example, you can view annual “Presidential Support” tables to see which senators and representatives tended to vote with or against the President, annual examinations of party unity, and voting records.

Congressional Quarterly Almanac’s coverage is from 1945-2009. For more recent material, please utilize CQ Weekly, which is available electronically through GULLiver.

The library has numerous resources available for legislative history and Congressional research.  For more information, see one of our legislative history research guides or contact a reference librarian.