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Federal Taxation

About Federal Tax Courts

The resources listed below highlight a number of sources that reprint federal tax related decisions.

For more information regarding the different courts that handle tax cases and their authoritative weight, see Tax Management Portfolio 100-3rd: Legal Authorities in U.S. Federal Tax Matters — Research and Interpretation, section IV: The Judiciary (also available on the library's Bloomberg Law computers).

For general information on how to find cases in the federal judiciary, see the Federal Caselaw guide.

The U.S. Tax Court was established in 1969 and is the successor to the Tax Court of the United States (which was the successor to the Board of Tax Appeals) (Tax Reform Act of 1969, Pub.L. Mo. 91-172, § 951 - §962, 83 Stat. 487, 730-36). Though its predecessors were administrative boards, the U.S. Tax Court is a judicial body.

"Congress created the Tax Court to provide a judicial forum in which affected persons could dispute tax deficiencies determined by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue prior to payment of the disputed amounts." Peter A. Lowy, Legal Authorities in U.S. Federal Tax Matters — Research and Interpretation (IV)(G)(1) (100-3rd T.M. 2020).

Most tax cases originate in the U.S. Tax Court. T.C., Memorandum, Summary, and Bench Opinions beginning with filings from May 1986 are available for free online using DAWSON from the U.S. Tax Court. U.S. Tax Court opinions are also available on Lexis, Westlaw, Fastcase, HeinOnline, and more. See below for more information.

"The U.S. District Court is the federal court system's lowest level and holds jurisdiction over general matters, including tax cases. Tax cases are not filed here as often as they are with the Tax Court," though "[t]he taxpayer can have an advantage in using the District Court because of the right to a jury trial, which is not available in the U.S. Tax Court." Christopher C. Dykes, Federal Income Tax Law: A Legal Research Guide (III)(C)(1)(b) (2nd ed. 2021).

The resources listed below may include tax matters before the U.S. District Courts. For additional resources to search U.S. District Court decisions, see the Federal Caselaw research guide.

"Each bankruptcy court is technically a unit of the U.S. district court in the district where it sits. . . . In general, the bankruptcy courts have original jurisdiction over tax cases when the taxpayer is the subject of a bankruptcy proceeding." Peter A. Lowy, Legal Authorities in U.S. Federal Tax Matters — Research and Interpretation (IV)(E)(1) (100-3rd T.M. 2020).

The resources listed below may include tax matters before the U.S. Bankruptcy Courts. For additional resources to search decisions from the U.S. Bankruptcy Courts, see the Federal Caselaw research guide.

"The U.S. Court of Federal Claims hears tax cases among other money-related petitions that involve the United States Government." It is "rarely utilized by taxpayers." Christopher C. Dykes, Federal Income Tax Law: A Legal Research Guide (III)(C)(1)(c) (2nd ed. 2021).

The resources listed below may include tax matters before the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. For additional resources to search U.S. Court of Federal Claims decisions, see the Federal Caselaw research guide.

The U.S. Courts of Appeals "hear cases on review from the district courts located within their respective circuits, as well as appeals from the U.S. Tax Court". Peter A. Lowy, Legal Authorities in U.S. Federal Tax Matters — Research and Interpretation (IV)(C)(1) (100-3rd T.M. 2020).

The resources listed below may include tax matters before the U.S. Courts of Appeals. For additional resources to search U.S. Courts of Appeals decisions, see the Federal Caselaw research guide.

The U.S. Supreme Court is "the highest court in the nation for all cases and controversies arising under the Constitution or under the laws of the United States, and has the final say on whether legislative or executive actions are consonant with the Constitution", this includes cases dealing with tax matters. Peter A. Lowy, Legal Authorities in U.S. Federal Tax Matters — Research and Interpretation (IV)(B)(1) (100-3rd T.M. 2020).

The resources listed below may include tax matters before the U.S. Supreme Court. For additional resources to search U.S. Supreme Court decisions, see the Federal Caselaw research guide.

The Board of Tax Appeals originated in the Revenue Act of 1924. It was designated an administrative board, not a court (Revenue Act of 1924, ch. 234 § 900(a), § 900(k), 43 Stat. 253, 336, 338).

In 1942 it was renamed the Tax Court of the United States and continued to function as an administrative agency (Revenue Act of 1942, ch. 619, § 504(a), 56 Stat. 798, 957).

It ceased to exist in 1969 and was replaced with the U.S. Tax Court (Tax Reform Act of 1969, Pub.L. Mo. 91-172, § 951 - §962, 83 Stat. 487, 730-36).

Finding Federal Tax Caselaw

DAWSON U.S. Tax Court
Coverage includes cases filed on or after May 1, 1986. Case, Order, and Opinion searches available. Opinion search includes T.C., Memorandum, Summary, and Bench Opinions. Sealed cases and affiliated documents will not display in search results.

Other free resources, like Legalbitstream.com, also reprint select U.S. federal court opinions that discuss issues involving federal income and estate taxes.

Tax Notes Research - Court Documents TaxNotes
Option to filter by either 'Court Opinions and Orders' or 'Court Petitions and Briefs'. Can browse the most recent documents added, or conduct a quick search by term or citation. 

The following member database includes access to federal tax caselaw. Members must be logged in to jenkinslaw.org to access this database. This database is also available in the library.

U.S. Tax Court
Available on Fastcase. From Browse Libraries, go to Caselaw Opinions > See More > U.S. Tax Court. Coverage begins with 1924.

The following member database includes access to federal tax caselaw. Members must be logged in to jenkinslaw.org to access this database. This database is also available in the library.

Reports of the United States Board of Tax Appeals
Available on HeinOnline. Coverage from vol. 1 (1924) through vol. 47 (1942´╗┐). Once in HeinOnline, select U.S. Federal Agency Documents, Decisions, and Appeals > All Titles > R > Reports of the United States Board of Tax Appeals.

Reports of the United States Tax Court
Available on HeinOnline. Coverage begins with vol. 1 (1942). Once in HeinOnline, select U.S. Federal Agency Documents, Decisions, and Appeals > All Titles > R > Reports of the United States Tax Court.

The following member database includes access to federal tax caselaw. Members must be logged in to jenkinslaw.org to access this database. This database is also available in the library.

Reports of the United States Board of Tax Appeals
Available on LLMC Digital´╗┐. Coverage from vol. 1 (1924) through vol. 47 (1942). Once in LLMC Digital, select U.S. Federal Government > Judicial > U.S. Judicial (lower cts., alpha order) > Tax Appeals, Board of Rpts., 1924-42, 47v.

Reports of the United States Tax Court
Available on LLMC Digital´╗┐. Coverage begins with vol. 1 (1942). Once in LLMC Digital, select U.S. Federal Government > Judicial > U.S. Judicial (lower cts., alpha order) > Tax Court Reports, v.1-1942-.

Tax Cases
Available on the library's Lexis computers. From the Practice Area tab, select Tax Law > All Tax Law Cases. Includes "All available cases from any Federal or state court pertaining to tax law". Coverage varies by court. The larger All Federal Cases file may include additional cases.

Tax Cases
Available on the library's Westlaw computers. From the Practice areas tab, select Tax > Cases. Includes federal tax cases from the U.S. Supreme Court, courts of appeals, district courts, bankruptcy courts, Court of Federal Claims, Tax Court, and related federal courts that relate to taxation by federal, state, or local governments. Combines documents from Supreme Court Tax Cases (coverage begins with 1790), Courts of Appeals Tax Cases (coverage begins with 1891), District Courts Tax Cases (coverage begins with 1789), Court of Federal Claims Tax Cases (coverage begins with 1856), and Tax Court Cases (Tax Court Division Opinions (T.C.) begins with 1924, Tax Court Memorandum Opinions (T.C. Memo) begins with 1928), and Tax Court Summary Opinions (T.C. Summary) begins with 2001). To search by court, see "Tools & Resources" on the right.

U.S. Tax Court
Available on the library's Bloomberg Law computers. From Court Opinions Search, select Federal Court Opinions > U.S. Tax Court. Coverage begins with 1924. Includes United States Tax Court Reports (coverage begins with vol. 1), Reports of the United States Board of Tax Appeals (coverage from vols. 1 through vol. 47), Tax Court Memorandum Decisions (coverage begins with vol. 1), and Tax Court Summary Opinions (coverage begins with 2001). Other Federal Court files may include additional opinions.

United States Tax Cases (2000-Current)
Available on the library's VitalLaw computer. From Practice Areas, select Tax - Federal > Primary Sources > Cases > United States Tax Cases (2000-Current). Contains decisions of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, U.S. District Courts, U.S. Court of Federal Claims, U.S. Courts of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court addressing income tax-related issues. Coverage begins with 2000.

United States Tax Cases (1913-1999)
Available on the library's VitalLaw computer. From Practice Areas, select Tax - Federal > Primary Sources > Cases > See All > United States Tax Cases (1913-1999). Contains United States Tax Cases from 1913 through 1999.

Board of Tax Appeals Regulars and Memoranda
Available on the library's VitalLaw computer. From Practice Areas, select Tax - Federal > Primary Sources > Cases > Board of Tax Appeals Regulars and Memoranda. Coverage from 1924 through 1942. Select other decisions may also be available.

Tax Court Memoranda (Current)
Available on the library's VitalLaw computer. From Practice Areas, select Tax - Federal > Primary Sources > Cases > See All > Tax Court Memoranda (Current). Contains memorandum decisions issued by the United States Tax Court for the current year. For older decisions, see the Tax Court Memoranda (Archive) file.

Tax Court Memoranda (Archive)
Available on the library's VitalLaw computer. From Practice Areas, select Tax - Federal > Primary Sources > Cases > See All > Tax Court Memoranda (Archive). Contains memorandum decisions issued by the United States Tax Court. Coverage begins with 1941. For current decisions, see the Tax Court Memoranda (Current) file.

Tax Court Regulars (Current)
Available on the library's VitalLaw computer. From Practice Areas, select Tax - Federal > Primary Sources > Cases > See All > Tax Court Regulars (Current). Contains official texts of United States Tax Court regular decisions for the current year. For older decisions, see the Tax Court Regulars (Archive) file.

Tax Court Regulars (Archive)
Available on the library's VitalLaw computer. From Practice Areas, select Tax - Federal > Primary Sources > Cases > See All > Tax Court Regulars (Archive). Contains official texts of United States Tax Court regular decisions. Coverage begins with 1942 with one decision from 1935. For current decisions, see the Tax Court Regulars (Current) file.

Tax Court Small Tax Cases (Current)
Available on the library's VitalLaw computer. From Practice Areas, select Tax - Federal > Primary Sources > Cases > See All > Tax Court Small Tax Cases (Current). Contains summary opinions from the United States Tax Court for the current year that were heard under the small tax case procedure. For older decisions, see the Tax Court Small Tax Cases (Archive) file.

Tax Court Small Tax Cases (Archive)
Available on the library's VitalLaw computer. From Practice Areas, select Tax - Federal > Primary Sources > Cases > See All > Tax Court Small Tax Cases (Archive). Contains summary opinions from the United States Tax Court that were heard under the small tax case procedure. Coverage begins with 2001 with select decisions from 1996. For current decisions, see the Tax Court Small Tax Cases (Current ) file.

U.S. Supreme Court Cases
Available on the library's VitalLaw computer. From Practice Areas, select Tax - Federal > Primary Sources > Cases > U.S. Supreme Court Cases. Includes significant cases on state tax issues decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

U.S. Tax Cases CCH
Library has 1936-2019. Includes select tax decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court, Courts of Appeals, District Courts, Court of Federal Claims, and Bankruptcy Courts. Includes cases originally reported in the Standard Federal Tax Reporter, the Federal Estate and Gift Tax Reporter, and the Federal Excise Tax Reporter.

Jenkins has other tax reporters, some of which include cases going back to the late 1800s. Contact Research Services at 215.574.1505 or research@jenkinslaw.org for more information.

The Standard Federal Tax Reporter includes select tax decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court, Courts of Appeals, District Courts, Court of Federal Claims, and Bankruptcy Courts.

Jenkins has access to the Standard Federal Tax Reporter on the library's VitalLaw computer beginning with 1986. Pre-1986 coverage is available on the member database HeinOnline. Select coverage is also available in print. See the Standard Federal Tax Reporter page of this guide for more information.