A tax code is a government document that outlines all of the rules pertaining to taxation. In the U.S., we have both a federal tax code (see below) and individual state tax codes.
Each provides precise rules for how individual and business taxpayers are supposed to remit their income from various sources – e.g. capital gains, salaries, gambling, etc. – to their respective tax authority.
What is the Internal Revenue Code (IRC)?
The Internal Revenue Code is the U.S. federal tax code.
The IRC applies to the taxation of individuals and businesses at the federal level. Periodically amended and updated by Congress, this code consists of literally thousands of sections dealing with topics such as federal estate tax, unemployment taxes, capital gains, income tax withholding, and so forth.
The IRC is the federal tax document. Everything pertaining to federal income taxation — such as deductions, credits, exemptions, exclusions, obligations, and benefits — can be found somewhere within the code.
Sections of the IRC
As mentioned, the IRC contains thousands of sections dealing with a wide range of topics. The following is a complete list of the existing sections and their corresponding tax topics:
|21–54||Credits (refundable and non-refundable)|
|55–59A||Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) & environmental tax|
|61–90||Definition of gross income (before deductions), including items specifically taxable|
|101–140||Specific exclusions from gross income|
|141–149||Private activity bonds (PAB)|
|151–153||Personal exemptions; dependent defined|
|161–199||Deductions, including interest, taxes, losses, and business related items|
|211–224||Itemized deductions for individuals|
|241–250||Deductions unique to corporations|
|261–291||Non-deductible items, including special rules limiting or deferring deductions|
|301–386||Corporate transactions, including formation, distributions, reorganizations, liquidations (Subchapter C)|
|401–436||Pension and benefit plans: treatment of plans, employers, & beneficiaries|
|441–483||Accounting methods & tax years|
|501–530||Exempt organizations (charitable and other)|
|531–565||Accumulated earnings tax and personal holding companies|
|581–597||Banks: special rules for certain items|
|611–638||Natural resources provisions: depletion, etc.|
|641–692||Trusts & estates: definitions, income tax on same & beneficiaries|
|701–777||Partnerships: definitions, treatment of entities and members, special rules (Subchapter K)|
|801–858||Insurance companies: special rules, definitions|
|851–860||Regulated investment companies (mutual funds) and Real Estate Investment Trusts|
|861–865||Source of income (for international tax)|
|871–898||Tax on foreign persons/corporations; inbound international rules|
|901–908||Foreign tax credit (FTC)|
|911–943||Exclusions of foreign income (mostly repealed)|
|951–965||Taxation of U.S. shareholders of controlled foreign corporations (Subpart F)|
|971–999||Other international tax provisions|
|1001–1092||Gains: definitions, characterization, and recognition; special rules|
|1201–1298||Capital gains: separate taxation and special rules|
|1301–1359||Interperiod adjustments; certain special rules|
|1361–1388||S Corporations and cooperative associations: flow-through rules|
|1391–1400T||Empowerment, enterprise, and other special zones|
|1441–1465||Withholding of tax on non-residents|
|1501–1564||Consolidated returns and affiliated groups (corporations)|
|2001–2210||Estate tax on transfers at death|
|2501–2704||Gift tax and generation skipping transfers tax|
|3101–3241||Social security and railroad retirement taxes|
|3401–3510||Income tax withholding; payment of employment taxes|
|4001–5000||Excise taxes on specific goods, transactions, and industries|
|5001–5891||Alcohol, tobacco and firearms taxes and special excise tax rules|
|6001–6167||Tax returns: requirements, procedural rules, payments, settlements, extensions|
|6201–6533||Assessment, collection, and abatement; limitations on collection & refund|
|6601–6751||Interest and non-criminal penalties on underpayments or failures|
|6801–7124||Other procedural rules|
|7201–7344||Crimes, other offences, forfeitures, tax evasion|
|9001–9834||Special taxes & funds (presidential election, highway, black lung, etc.)|
Treasury Regulations and the U.S. Tax Code
In addition to the Internal Revenue Code itself, many other sources exist to help clarify it. The IRS actually plays a significant role in publishing such secondary material, regularly publishing revenue rulings, procedures, memoranda, and other material to make the IRC more accessible.
What’s more, the Treasury Regulations, which are published by the U.S. Treasury, provide additional guidance on certain sections of the tax code. These regulations are often used as the default interpretation for certain topics by tax attorneys and other practitioners. These regulations are published under Title 26 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
The thousands of pages of the tax code can be a nightmare to wade through. But this is what licensed tax professionals do. At Boxelder, our team is deeply familiar with the IRC and would happily help you interpret it in the context of your case. Reach out today to get started!