3. Internal Revenue Code and Regulations
For years I purchased print editions of the Internal Revenue Code. I'm a book person, so I didn't mind. But one year my brand new edition of the Code was delivered the day after Congress passed a major tax bill. And then I knew that I had just purchased a really expensive bundle of paper. So for the past few years I've been using electronic versions of the Code and Regulations. It's easier to sort through and find what I'm looking for (although I must say that reading the Code on paper is easier than reading it on the screen, since I can highlight, take notes, and add sticky notes). There are many electronic versions of the Code and Regs in the marketplace. Your tax software provider may even provide you with access. Options include Intelliconnect (CCH), Checkpoint (RIA) and Parker Tax Pro Library.
The Internal Revenue Code is also available for free on the Internet through the Legal Information Institute at Cornell University Law School and through the TaxAlmanac (Intuit), vLex, and Fourmilab. Be vigilant in checking when the site has last updated the content. I've noticed that the free code publishers often lag behind the professional databases.
For the Income Tax Regulations, options include the professional research databases Intelliconnect, Checkpoint and Parker. For free online versions, check out the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (GPO) and the Legal Information Institute (Cornell).
And here's a bonus Web search tip. If you're searching for a particular code section and you know the section number ("section 121," for example), also try searching by using the following keyword patterns: 26 usc # or 26 cfr # (for example, "26 usc 121" or "26 cfr 121"). I've found this keyword pattern usually gives me different (and sometimes better) results in my search engine.
4. Quick Reference Guides
There are two quick reference guides that I am aware of.
TheTaxBook is an reference guide to individual and business taxes. The deluxe version includes essential information for individuals at the federal and state level, and covers rules for C corporations, S corporations, partnerships, and estates. The authors provide useful commentary, highlighting practical strategies you can use everyday.
A competing product is Quickfinder. The premium version covers 1040 issues, state taxes, partnerships, S corporations, C corporations, estates and trusts, and payroll returns.