An introduction to taxation and understanding the federal tax law chapter highlights

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A review of the history of the U.S. Federal tax system is helpful to gain an understanding of the principles that have shaped the development of the current system. This chapter introduces the structure of the U.S. Federal tax system, the major types of taxes, and the organizational aspects of administering the tax law.


A. The first North American income tax was enacted in 1634 in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The first U.S. income tax was enacted in 1861 to help finance the Civil War. In 1894, the Supreme Court, in Pollock v. Farmers' Loan and Trust Co., 157 U.S. 429 (1895), held that an early version of the individual income tax was unconstitutional. In response to this Supreme Court decision, a constitutional amendment was passed to authorize the individual income tax. The Sixteenth Amendment, which was ratified in 1913, gave Congress the power to impose and collect an income tax. Before the Sixteenth Amendment, the corporate income tax was held to be an excise tax, and therefore, deemed constitutional by the Supreme Court.
B. Various Revenue Acts were passed between 1913 and 1939. In 1939, these Acts were codified into the Internal Revenue Code of 1939, which was recodified in 1954 and again in 1986. Though there have been many changes since 1986, the Code that we use today is the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended.
C. Over the years, the individual income tax has become the major source of revenue (43 percent of Federal receipts in 2012) for the Federal government.


Adam Smith listed certain criteria with which to evaluate a particular tax or tax structure. These "canons of taxation" are equality, convenience, certainty, and economy.


A. The tax base is the amount to which the tax rate is applied to calculate the taxpayer’s tax liability.
B. Tax rate structures are characterized as progressive, proportional or regressive.
A progressive tax rate structure is one in which the tax rate increases as the tax base increases. The Federal income, gift, and estate taxes and most state income taxes are progressive taxes.
A proportional tax rate structure is one in which the rate of tax remains constant despite the size of the tax base.
A regressive tax rate structure is one in which the tax rate decreases as the tax base increases. Sin taxes (e.g., taxes on cigarettes or alcohol) are examples of taxes that are regressive.

B. The incidence of taxation is the degree to which each segment of society shares the total tax burden. In other words, the entity that remits the tax may not bear the ultimate burden of the tax.

A. Property taxes or ad valorem taxes are taxes that are based on value. The tax is usually imposed on realty or personalty. Realty taxes are a major source of revenue for local governments. Personalty taxes on personal use property generally have low taxpayer compliance, unless the tax is easy to collect (e.g., personal property taxes on automobiles may be easy to collect if a state requires an annual registration or inspection of the car). Compliance with personalty taxes on business use property, such as inventory and machinery, is markedly better.
B. Transaction taxes impose a tax on transfers of property and are normally computed as a percentage of the value of the property involved.
Excise taxes are taxes on products such as gasoline, telephone usage, air travel, alcohol, and tobacco. Both the Federal and state governments impose excise taxes. At the local level, hotel occupancy taxes and rental car “surcharges” have become more prevalent.
Sales taxes differ from excise taxes in that sales taxes are applied to many different transactions, while excise taxes are applied to one product or transaction. A use tax is designed to prevent circumvention of the sales tax, such as where a resident of a state with a sales tax buys products in another state with no sales tax or a lower sales tax rate in an attempt to avoid the sales tax in the state of residence. Many states allow local sales taxes by cities, counties, etc., in addition to the general sales tax.
C. Excise taxes can also be imposed on either the right to transfer property at death (estate tax) or the right to receive property from a decedent (inheritance tax).
The Federal estate tax is designed to prevent large concentrations of wealth from being kept within the same family. The unified transfer credit eliminates or reduces the estate tax liability for small estates. The Federal government does not impose an inheritance tax.
Most states levy some form of transfer tax at death. If the tax is an inheritance tax, the rates are generally lower for close family members and get larger the more distant the heir.
D. The Federal gift tax was enacted into law to complement the estate tax. Without a gift tax, it would be possible to avoid the estate tax by making lifetime gifts and eliminating the gross estate. The Federal gift tax is determined by taking into account prior taxable gifts so that the tax rate is based on cumulative taxable gifts.
E. In the U.S., income taxes are levied by the Federal government and most state governments and are among the most popular forms of tax. Income taxes are imposed on individuals, corporations, and certain estates and trusts. The tax formula for individuals is shown as follows:

Income (broadly conceived)




Gross income


Certain business deductions and deductions for AGI


Adjusted gross income


Greater of itemized deductions or the standard deduction




Taxable income


Tax on taxable income


Credits, withholding and prepayments


Tax due or (refund)

The Federal income tax is also imposed on corporations. Generally, the taxable income of a corporation is the difference between gross income and business deductions.

Nearly all states impose a state income tax on individuals and corporations. Most states pattern their income tax after the Federal income tax and use an adjusted Federal taxable income figure as a base on which to apply the tax. However, budgetary constraints sometimes cause states to “decouple” from certain Federal tax provisions (e.g., income from the cancellation of indebtedness, the Domestic Production Activities deduction).
Like the Federal government, most states have some form of income-tax withholding procedures. State taxing authorities also work closely with the IRS and share information about audits and other changes in tax returns.

F. Employment taxes such as the FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act) tax are collected by the Federal government. The FICA tax consists of the old age, survivors, and disability insurance tax and the hospital insurance tax (Medicare).

FICA taxes fund the Social Security system and are levied on both the employee and the employer. For 2012, employers pay a 7.65 percent FICA tax, consisting of the 6.20 percent Social Security tax on the first $110,100 of an employee's wages, plus the 1.45 percent Medicare tax on the employee's total wages. The employee pays a 5.65 percent FICA tax, consisting of a 4.20 percent Social Security tax on the first $110,100 of wages plus the 1.45 percent Medicare tax on the employee's total wages. For Medicare tax purposes, there is no ceiling for either the employer or the employee. Self-employed individuals also pay the employer’s and the employee’s share of FICA tax (otherwise known as self-employment tax) on wages they earn.
The FUTA tax is levied only on the employer for the purpose of providing the states with funds to administer their unemployment programs. A credit is allowed for any FUTA paid to a state government.
G. Other U. S. Taxes. Federal Customs Duties are tariffs on certain imported goods. In recent years, Customs Duties have been used more to protect U.S. industries from foreign competition than to raise tax revenue.
There are several miscellaneous state and local taxes such as franchise taxes, occupational taxes, etc.
H. Proposed U.S. Taxes. Changes to the U.S. tax system are often proposed, especially in election years. Broadly, such proposals have included a flat tax, a Value Added Tax, and a national sales tax. Generally, a flat tax would tax income without allowing any deductions. The other two taxes would replace the U.S. income tax with taxes that have consumption as their tax base.


A. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which is part of the Treasury Department, has responsibility for administering the Federal tax law. The role of the IRS is twofold: to help taxpayers properly calculate their tax liabilities and to ensure that all taxpayers are paying their tax liabilities.
B. The IRS selects tax returns for audit using a variety of methods including statistical sampling and informant tips. IRS audits are classified as “correspondence audits,” "office audits," and "field audits." Correspondence audits are conducted by mail, while office audits are restricted in scope and are conducted in an IRS office. A field audit is comprehensive and is conducted on the premises of the taxpayer or the taxpayer's representative.
C. The general statute of limitations for an IRS assessment is three years from the date the return is filed. If the return is filed early, the limitation period beings to run from the date the return is due. There is no statute of limitations if no return or a fraudulent return is filed.
D. Interest is assessed by the federal government on underpayments of tax. In addition, various penalties are assessed for noncompliance. For "failure to file" a tax return a penalty of five percent per month, or fraction thereof, is charged up to a 25 percent maximum. The penalty for "failure to pay" is one-half percent per month, or fraction thereof, up to a maximum of 25 percent. If both penalties apply to the same return, the failure to file penalty is reduced by the failure to pay penalty. More significant penalties apply where the underpayment is due to negligence or fraud.
E. Penalties can also be assessed on tax return preparers. These include penalties for understatement of a tax liability where the position cannot realistically be sustained, any willful attempt to understate taxes, and violation of certain procedural matters.


Raising revenue is a major function of taxation. However, some tax law provisions are also enacted to serve a variety of economic, social and political purposes.
A. Economic Considerations. The tax law contains many provisions to encourage investment and capital formation. The currently beneficial long-term capital gains tax rate is an example of such a provision.
Tax law provisions are often used to stimulate the economy. Such provisions could include lowering tax rates, accelerating depreciation or increasing the number of years a net operating loss could be carried back. These provisions give taxpayers more income to spend, and should, as a result, stimulate economic growth.
Tax law provisions also encourage certain activities. The favorable incentives granted research and development expenditures, the rapid amortization of pollution control facilities, and the special treatment accorded U.S. citizens with foreign-source income are examples of these types of provisions.
The encouragement of certain industries is another economic consideration found in tax law. Agriculture, oil and gas, and timber are all industries that receive special tax benefits.
Small businesses are generally considered good for the economy as a whole. Therefore, certain provisions of the tax law are designed to help small businesses, such as beneficial treatment of gain or loss on the disposition of small business stock and the deduction for health insurance premiums.
B. Social Considerations. The U.S. tax law contains many provisions intended to achieve social objectives. Examples of such provisions include

  1. Nontaxability of employer-sponsored accident and health plans;

  2. Nontaxability of employer paid premiums for group-term insurance;

  3. Qualified pension and profit sharing plans;

  4. Deductions for contributions to charitable organizations;

  5. Credit for childcare expenditures, higher education, and energy efficient property; and

6) Disallowance of deductions for expenditures that are against public policy (fines, penalties, etc.).
C. Equity Considerations. Federal tax law attempts to alleviate the effects of multiple taxation in several areas. Examples include the deduction for state, local, and foreign income taxes as well as the foreign tax credit.
The wherewithal to pay concept recognizes the inequity of taxing a transaction where the taxpayer lacks the means with which to pay the tax. Sometimes the Federal tax rules, such as those where a taxpayer reinvests the proceeds from an involuntary conversion (e.g., a casualty loss) in similar property, allow the taxpayer to defer recognition of gain when his or her economic situation has not changed significantly.
Mitigating the effect of the concept of an annual accounting period is an equity consideration that deals with the inequities which arise from the arbitrary use of the annual accounting period to divide the taxpayer's life into taxable segments. The annual accounting period concept could lead to different treatment of two individuals who are, from a long-range standpoint, in the same economic position. Measures to alleviate this inequity include the carryover procedure for net operating losses, excess capital loss and excess charitable contribution carryovers, and the installment method of recognizing gain.
One major problem in recent years has been bracket creep, which is caused by inflation. Taxpayers were pushed into higher tax brackets without a real increase in income. This problem is addressed by indexing. Beginning in 1989, the tax brackets and the standard deduction are annually indexed upward by the amount of inflation. The personal and dependency exemptions are also indexed based on inflation.
D. Political Considerations. Special interest legislation includes tax provisions sponsored because of the instigation of influential constituents. Such legislation is inevitable in our political system and can sometimes be justified on economic, social, or utilitarian grounds.
Political expediency is responsible for the passage of tax provisions that have popular appeal such as measures that ensure wealthy taxpayers pay their "fair" share of tax, the lowering of individual income tax rates, and increasing the exemption amount.
State and local influences explain the nontaxability of interest received on state and local obligations, and the extension under Federal tax law of community property tax advantages to residents of common law states.
E. Influence of the IRS. As protector of the revenue, the IRS has a great deal of influence on shaping the tax law. In this role, the IRS tries to close what it sees as loopholes in the tax law.
Many provisions of the tax law enacted are for administrative feasibility purposes, and exist because they simplify the work of the IRS in collecting revenue or administering the tax law. For example, withholding procedures place taxpayers on a pay-as-you-go basis and so aid the IRS in the collection of revenue. Interest and penalties imposed for noncompliance with tax laws are also of considerable help to the IRS.
F. Influence of the Courts. The Federal courts influence both the development of and the interpretation of the tax law. Some court decisions have been of such consequence that Congress has incorporated their provisions into the Internal Revenue Code. The rule that allows tax-free stock dividends is an example of a court decision that was codified.

Ad valorem taxes

National sales tax

Correspondence audit

Office audit

Employment taxes

Personalty tax

Estate tax

Realty tax

Excise taxes

Revenue neutrality

FICA tax

Sales tax

Field audit

Severance taxes

Flat tax

Statute of limitations

Franchise tax

Sunset provision

FUTA tax

Use tax

Gift tax

Value added tax (VAT)

Inheritance tax

Wherewithal to pay

True or False
Indicate which of the following statements are true or false by circling the correct answer.
T F 1. The first U.S. Federal income tax was enacted to provide revenues to fund the Civil War.
T F 2. The Supreme Court held that the 1894 income tax law was constitutional since it was a direct tax.
T F 3. The Sixteenth Amendment was necessary to enact the corporate income tax of 1909.
T F 4. The first Internal Revenue Code was the Internal Revenue Code of 1939.
T F 5. The current tax law is found in the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended.
T F 6. The corporate income tax provides the largest percentage of Federal tax revenues.
T F 7. Per Adam Smith’s canons of taxation, the more complex the tax system, the more likely tax revenue is to be collected.
T F 8. The responsibility for administering the Federal tax law rests with the Internal Revenue Service, which is part of the Treasury Department.
T F 9. The Internal Revenue Service openly reveals its audit selection techniques.
T F 10. Historically, the purpose of the gift tax is to prevent widespread avoidance of the estate tax.
T F 11. In 2012, the maximum amount of salary to which the Medicare portion of the FICA tax can be applied is $110,100.
T F 12. Tax rates are applied to a tax base to determine a taxpayer’s liability.
T F 13. Tax collections from individual income taxes are the largest portion of the Federal government's budget receipts.
T F 14. Ad valorem taxes are taxes that are based on income derived from property.
T F 15. Property taxes on personalty have a high rate of compliance, while similar taxes on realty have a low rate of compliance.
T F 16. Excise taxes are levied on specific transactions or products, while sales taxes are collected on transactions involving a wide range of products.
T F 17. Excise taxes are sometimes used to influence social behavior.
T F 18. The Federal government is the only government allowed to impose excise taxes on products.
T F 19. Over the years, the primary purpose of the estate tax in the United States has been to generate revenue with which to operate the Federal government.
T F 20. The Federal gift tax is imposed on transfers made during the owner’s life and not at death.
T F 21. State inheritance taxes usually tax all heirs at the same rate.
T F 22. In 2012, the annual exclusion for Federal gift tax purposes is $17,500 per year per donee.
T F 23. A taxpayer can minimize his Federal gift tax liability by making several small taxable gifts rather than a single large taxable gift.
T F 24. All states impose some form of income tax on individuals who reside in that state.
T F 25. Some cities impose an income tax along with the Federal and state income taxes.
T F 26. In recent years, tariffs have served the nation more as an instrument for carrying out protectionist policies than for generating revenue.
T F 27. The interest rates applicable to underpayments and overpayments of Federal income taxes used by the Internal Revenue Service are determined every quarter.
T F 28. The progressiveness of the U.S. Federal income tax rate structure for individuals has varied over time.
T F 29. Certain provisions of the U.S. income tax law are designed to help small businesses.
T F 30. An example of a social consideration in the tax law is the nontaxability of health plan benefits.
T F 31. The wherewithal to pay concept states that a taxpayer should pay the tax on all gains, even when his economic position has not changed.
T F 32. Many provisions of the tax law can be explained by looking at the influence of public opinion on Congress.
T F 33. One role assumed by the Internal Revenue Service is that of "protector of the revenue."
T F 34. Some of the tax law is justified because it complicates the Internal Revenue Service's task of collecting revenue.
T F 35. The courts have established the rule that the relief provisions of the Code are to be broadly interpreted.
T F 36. Some court decisions have been of such consequence that Congress has incorporated them into the tax law.
T F 37. The tax law attempts to encourage technological progress.
T F 38. Economic considerations in the tax law help regulate the economy.
T F 39. One equity consideration in the tax law is the alleviation of multiple taxation.
T F 40. Carryback and carryover procedures help mitigate the effect of limiting a loss or deduction in the accounting period in which such an amount was realized.
T F 41. The standard deduction, personal and dependency exemption amounts, and tax brackets are annually indexed for inflation.
T F 42. In future years, budget deficit problems will likely influence many new tax provisions passed by Congress.
T F 43. For purposes of the gift tax, a special election applicable to married persons allows 75 percent of a gift made by a donor spouse to be treated as made by the nondonor spouse.

T F 44. In order to mitigate the effects of double taxation, most states allow nonresidents a tax credit for income taxes paid to their resident state.

T F 45. Taxpayers can be fined and sent to prison for committing civil tax fraud when filing their Federal tax return.

Multiple Choice
Choose the best answer for each of the following questions.
1. Which of the following is an employment tax?

a. The gift tax

b. FICA tax

c. Customs duties

d. Excise taxes
2. Which of the following amounts is not indexed to inflation under the tax law?

a. The standard deduction

b. Personal and dependency exemptions

c. The child care credit

d. The tax brackets
3. The total FICA tax rate imposed on individual taxpayers is comprised of which of the following amounts?

a. OASDI rate plus the FUTA rate

b. OASDI rate less FUTA rate

c. OASDI rate plus Medicare rate

d. OASDI rate less Medicare rate
4. The installment method of reporting gains can be justified based on

a. Mitigation of the annual accounting period.

b. Wherewithal to pay.

c. Social considerations.

d. Both mitigation of the annual accounting period and wherewithal to pay.
5. Raul's gross income is $80,000 and he has business deductions of $6,000. His itemized deductions are $10,000 and he has one personal exemption. Which of the following amounts represents Raul's taxable income?

a. $80,000 - 6,000 - 10,000

b. $80,000 - 6,000 - 10,000 - exemption

c. $80,000 - 6,000 - 10,000 + exemption

d. $80,000 - 6,000 - exemption
6. Jeanne earned wages of $120,000. The total amount of FICA tax due from Jeanne and her employer is calculated as follows:

a. [(OASDI rate x annual maximum) + (Medicare rate x $120,000)]

b. [(OASDI rate x annual maximum) + (Medicare rate x $120,000)] x 2

c. [(OASDI rate + Medicare rate) x annual maximum] x 2

d. [(OASDI rate + Medicare rate) x $120,000] x 2
7. Which of the following statements concerning IRS audits is most correct?

a. A significant percentage of all tax returns are audited annually.

b. A taxpayer would expect an office audit where the issue involved was minor.

c. A field audit is conducted at the taxpayer or taxpayer representative’s premises.

d. The taxpayer is notified of an audit by the filing of a Revenue Agent’s Report.
8. Byron files his tax return 45 days late. Along with the return, he remits a check for $6,000, which is the balance of the tax owed. Disregarding interest, what is Byron's penalty for failure to file?

a. $0

b. $60

c. $540

d. $600
9. The value added tax is

a. Levied by many state governments, though not the Federal government.

b. A form of income tax on corporations.

c. A tax on consumption.

d. A tax rarely utilized anywhere in the world.
10. John received $140,000 when the state condemned his house for a new freeway. The house cost John $84,000. John immediately purchased a new home for $140,000. What is John’s taxable gain from this sale?

a. $0

b. $56,000

c. $140,000

d. $84,000
11. Interest rates charged by the IRS for taxpayer assessments (underpayments) and for tax refunds (overpayments) are determined

a. Monthly.

b. Quarterly.

c. Semi-annually.

d. Annually.
12. Vicky filed her 2011 individual tax return on January 15, 2012. The return was properly signed and filed. When does the statute of limitations for Vicky's 2011 return expire?

a. January 15, 2015

b. April 15, 2015

c. January 15, 2014

d. April 15, 2014
13. Mark and Silva are married with four grown children, three of whom are married, and six grandchildren. What is the maximum amount Mark and Jane can give to their family in 2012 without incurring the Federal gift tax if they elect "gift splitting?"

a. $246,000

b. $220,000

c. $312,000

d. $338,000
14. Which of the following is not an economic consideration of the tax law?

a. Encouragement of small business

b. Encouragement of certain industries

c. The wherewithal to pay concept

d. Encouragement of certain activities
15. The net operating loss provision of the tax law is an example of

a. An economic consideration.

b. A social consideration.

c. A political consideration.

d. An equity consideration.
16. Which of the following is not a social consideration in the tax law?

a. Qualified pension and profit-sharing plan

b. Expensing soil and water conservation costs

c. Child care credit

d. The nondeductibility of a speeding ticket paid by a truck driver

17. Which of the following is the best example of a tax law provision designed to aid in controlling the economy?

a. Depreciation deduction

b. Child care credit

c. Personal exemption

d. Installment sale provisions

18. Smith Corporation pays $4,000 per month rent on a building to Mary Smith, its sole shareholder. The fair market value of the rent determined at "arm's length" would be $1,800 per month. What monthly rental deduction will Smith Corporation be allowed?

a. $0

b. $1,800

c. $2,200

d. $4,000
19. A father rents property to his daughter for $10,000 a year. If the IRS wants to examine this transaction, it will be interested in

a. The tax benefit rule.

b. The installment sale rules.

c. The arm's length concept.

d. Public policy limitations.
20. Several years ago, Fran entered into an agreement to rent a building to Meg for 20 years. During the first year of the lease, Meg made $60,000 in capital improvements to the building. This year the lease is terminated and Fran takes possession of the building. The fair market value of the capital improvements in the year of termination is $75,000. In the year of the termination of the lease, what is Fran’s taxable gain?

a. $0

b. $15,000

c. $60,000

d. $75,000
21. On a tax return that is filed 45 days late, Christy pays $33,000 in additional taxes. Of this amount, $10,000 is attributable to Christy's negligence. What is Christy's negligence penalty?

a. $0

b. $500

c. $2,000

d. $6,600
22. When a tax base is $20,000, the tax liability is $6,000 and when the tax base is $200,000, the tax liability is $60,000. This tax rate structure is characterized as

a. Progressive.

b. Regressive.

c. Proportional.

d. Parallel.
23. When a tax base is $20,000, the tax liability is $6,000 and when the tax base is $200,000, the tax liability is $80,000. This tax rate structure is characterized as

a. Progressive.

b. Regressive.

c. Proportional.

d. Parallel.
24. Which of the following actions is acceptable behavior for a tax professional, given the ethical guidelines for tax practice?

a. Taking a questionable position on a return, because the return has a low probability of audit

b. Failing to answer a question on a tax return because the answer could be disadvantageous to the client

c. Informing the IRS of an error made by a client

d. Using reasonable client estimates in the preparation of a tax return
25. The pay-as-you-go system of withholding used by the United States Government was passed into law in

a. 1913.

b. 1925.

c. 1943.

d. 1954.

26. A(n) _________ tax is an ad valorem tax (usually at the same rate as the sales tax) on the utilization, consumption, or storage of tangible property.

a. Excise

b. Severance

c. Luxury

d. Use
27. Which of the following states does not impose an income tax on individuals?

a. Virginia

b. Nevada

c. Vermont

d. Alabama

28. Which of the following was not part of the Guiding Principles of Good Tax Policy issued by the AICPA?

a. The tax system should not reduce economic growth and efficiency.

b. The tax system should be simple.

c. The tax system should influence business decisions.

d. The tax system should be structured to minimize noncompliance.
29. The American Institute of CPAs has a set of enforceable pronouncements for tax practice by CPAs. The name of these pronouncements is

a. The Tax Code of Ethics.

b. Circular 230.

c. Statements on Standards for Tax Services.

d. Statements on Responsibilities in Tax Practice.
30. For 2012, Maureen, a calendar year taxpayer, reported gross income of $200,000 on a timely filed income tax return. Maureen omitted $60,000 from that return. What is the statute of limitations for her 2012 return?

a. 3 years

b. 4 years

c. 5 years

d. 6 years
31. In the case of civil fraud by a taxpayer, the penalty is _____ percent of the underpayment attributable to the fraud.

a. 5

b. 8

c. 20

d. 75
32. In the case of negligence by a taxpayer, the penalty is _____ percent of the underpayment attributable to the fraud.

a. 5

b. 8

c. 20

d. 75
True or False
1. T The Federal government adopted this income tax in 1861. [Early Periods, p. 1-3]

2. F The income tax was unconstitutional because it was not apportioned. [Early Periods, p. 1-3]

3. F The 1909 corporate income tax was held to be constitutional. [Early Periods, p. 1-3]

4. T The first Code was the 1939 Code. [Revenue Acts, p. 1-3]

5. T Current tax law is found in the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. [Revenue Acts, p. 1-3]

6. F The individual income tax provides the largest percentage. [Historical Trends, p. 1-3]

7. F The convenience and economy canons suggest that simpler tax systems likely raise more tax revenue. [Criteria Used in the Selection of a Tax Structure, p. 1-4]

8. T The Treasury Department administers the income tax through the Internal Revenue Service. [Internal Revenue Service, p. 1-21]

9. F The IRS does not disclose its audit selection techniques. [The Audit Process, p. 1-21]

10. T Preventing the avoidance of the estate tax is one purpose of the gift tax. [The Federal Gift Tax, p. 1-13]

11. F There is no ceiling for the Medicare portion of the FICA tax. [Employment Taxes, p. 1-17]

12. T Tax rates are applied to the tax base. [Tax Rates, p. 1-5]

13. T Individual income tax receipts comprise the largest portion of budget receipts. [Historical Trends, p. 1-3]

14. F Ad valorem taxes are based on the value of the property. [Property Taxes, p.1-6]

15. F The tax on realty has a high compliance rate. [Property Taxes, p. 1-6]

16. T Excise taxes are on specific transaction and sales taxes are general. [Transaction Taxes, p. 1-8]

17. T For example, a tax levied on the purchase of cigarettes might discourage some people from smoking. [Transaction Taxes, p. 1-8]

18. F State and local governments can also impose excise taxes. [Transaction Taxes, p. 1-8]

19. F The estate tax is intended to prevent concentrations of wealth from being kept in a family for many generations. [Taxes on Transfers at Death, p. 1-11]

20. T Gift taxes are imposed on transfers during the donor’s life. [Gift Taxes, p. 1-13]

21. F Inheritance taxes generally are imposed on distant heirs at a higher rate. [Taxes on Transfers at Death, p. 1-11]

22. F The exclusion is $13,000 in 2012. [Gift Taxes, p. 1-13]

23. F The gift tax is based on the taxpayer's cumulative taxable gifts. [Gift Taxes, p. 1-13]

24. F Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming do not have a state income tax. [State Income Taxes, p. 1-15]

25. T Some cities impose an income tax. [Local Income Taxes, p. 1-17]

26. T Recently, tariffs have served to carry out protectionist policies. [Other U.S. Taxes, p. 1-18]

27. T Interest rates are determined quarterly. [Interest and Penalties, p. 1-24]

28. T The progressiveness of tax rates has varied over time. [Incidence of Taxation, p. 1-6]

29. T Certain tax law provisions are in place to encourage the formation and operation of small businesses. [Economic Considerations, p. 1-28]

30. T Nontaxability of health plan benefits is a social consideration. [Social Considerations, p. 1-29]

31. F The wherewithal to pay concept recognizes that under some circumstances, even though a gain has been realized by the taxpayer, the taxpayer's economic position may not have changed. [Equity Considerations, p. 1-30]

32. T The mood of the American public influences the tax law. [Political Considerations, p. 1-32]

33. T This is one role of the IRS. [Influence of the IRS, p. 1-34]

34. F Some of the law is justified because it simplifies the work of the IRS. [Influence of the IRS, p. 1-34]

35. F The relief provisions are to be narrowly interpreted. [Influence of the Courts, p. 1-35]

36. T Some court decisions are codified. [Influence of the Courts, p. 1-35]

37. T The research and development credit is an example of such a tax law provision. [Economic Considerations, p. 1-28]

38. T Using tax provisions in this manner is otherwise known as fiscal policy. [Economic Considerations, p. 1-28]

39. T The tax law helps alleviate multiple taxation. [Equity Considerations, p. 1-30]

40. T The arbitrariness of an annual accounting period is mitigated by carrybacks and carryovers. [Equity Considerations, p. 1-30]

41. T All of these amounts and many others are indexed for inflation. [Equity Considerations, p. 1-30]

42. T Budget deficits influence many tax provisions since a deficit-conscious Congress is often guided by the concept of revenue neutrality. [Revenue Needs, p. 1-27]

43. F The gift is split 50-50. [Gift Taxes, p. 1-13]

44. F Most states allow their residents some form of tax credit for income taxes paid to other states. [State Income Taxes, p. 1-15]

45. F Taxpayers can be fined and sent to prison for committing criminal (not civil) tax fraud. [Interest and Penalties, p. 1-24]

Multiple Choice
1. B FICA is an employment tax. [Employment Taxes, p. 1-17]

2. C The child care credit is not indexed. [Equity Considerations, p. 1-30]

3. C The OASDI rate plus Medicare rate is the total rate. [Employment Taxes, p. 1-17]

4. D The installment method mitigates the annual accounting period and the wherewithal to pay concept since recognition of gain is tied to the collection of the installment note. [Equity Considerations, p. 1-30]

5. B $80,000 - 6,000 - 10,000 - exemption. Raul’s itemized deduction exceeds the standard deduction for a single individual. [Income Taxes, p. 1-14]

6. B [(OASDI rate x annual maximum) + (Medicare rate x $120,000)] x 2. [Employment Taxes, p. 1-17]

7. C Correspondence audits are for minor issues and office audits are typically conducted in an IRS office. [Types of Audits, p. 1-22]

8. C $540. 5% per month or fraction thereof (10% x $6,000 = $600) less failure to pay penalty of .5% per month or fraction thereof (1% x $6,000 = $60). [Interest and Penalties, p. 1-24]

9. C The VAT is a consumption tax. In theory, income taxes discourage work and saving while consumption taxes do not. [Proposed U.S. Taxes, p. 1-19]

10. A The gain is not taxable. [Equity Considerations, p. 1-30]

11. B The interest rates are determined quarterly. [Interest and Penalties, p. 1-24]

12. B Generally, the statute of limitations expires 3 years after the due date of the return. [Statute of Limitations, p. 1-23]

13. D By electing "gift splitting" to 13 family members (4 children, 3 spouses of children, and 6 grandchildren), $338,000 can be given in 2012 (13 x $13,000 x 2). [Gift Taxes, p. 1-13]

14. C Wherewithal to pay is an equity consideration. [Equity Considerations, p. 1-30]

15. D The net operating loss deduction addresses an equity consideration. [Equity Considerations, p. 1-30]

16. B Soil and water conservation expensing is an economic consideration. [Economic Considerations, p. 1-28]

17. A The depreciation deduction aids in controlling the economy. [Economic Considerations, p. 1-28]

18. B The amount is what would be paid to an unrelated third party. [Influence of the Courts, p. 1-35]

19. C Rentals between related parties are judged by the arm’s length concept. [Influence of the Courts, p. 1-35]

20. A The improvements are not income. As a result, these amounts will not increase Fran’s basis in the building. [Influence of the Courts, p. 1-35]

21. C $2,000 = 20% x $10,000 [Interest and Penalties, p. 1-24]

22. C When the tax rate stays the same the tax is proportional. [Tax Rates, p. 1-5]

23. A When the tax rate increases as income increases, the tax is progressive. [Tax Rates, p. 1-5]

24. D All of the other behaviors are inconsistent with professional guidelines for ethical behavior. [Ethical Guidelines, p. 1-25]

25. C The pay-as-you-go system was enacted in 1943. [Historical Trends, p. 1-3]

26. D A use tax is an ad valorem tax. [General Sales Taxes, p. 1-10]

27. B Nevada does not have a state income tax. [State Income Taxes, p. 1-15]

28. C The tax should be neutral in terms of its effect on business decisions. [Criteria Used in the Selection of a Tax Structure, p. 1-4]

29 C The enforceable pronouncements are called, "Statements on Standards for Tax Services." [Tax Practice, p. 1-25]

30. D The omission is 30% ($60,000/$200,000), which exceeds 25%. Thus, the statute of limitation is 6 years. [Statute of Limitations, p. 1-23]

31. D The civil fraud penalty is 75% of the underpayment. [Interest and Penalties, p. 1-24]

32. C The civil fraud penalty is 20% of the underpayment. [Interest and Penalties, p. 1-24]


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