Tax Code (Tax Law)


The term tax code refers to a collection of tax laws resulting from constitutional, common law, as well as legislative proceedings.  Tax code maintained at the federal level appears in a collection known as the Internal Revenue Code (IRC).  The code provides the Internal Revenue Service with the authority to collect taxes.


Also known as tax law, tax code can result from common law rulings as well as legislative proceedings.  As is the case with other complex laws, the historical collections of these tax-related documents is assembled and provides reference to professionals responsible for interpreting these laws for taxpayers.

Although federal tax code is administered by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), state and local city councils can also draft code.  If a majority of legislators vote in favor of the proposed code, it is added to an existing collection of laws.  Code that is developed through the decisions of courts is known as common law or case law precedents.  The entire body of the IRC includes thousands of separate tax laws that apply to a large array of both individual and business-related federal taxation situations.

In addition to documenting regulations promulgated by the Department of the Treasury, the IRS provides the public with both notices and announcements.  The IRS also provides examples and guidance on the interpretation of the more complex tax code; allowing taxpayers to better understand their implications.

Related Terms

flat tax, progressive tax, excise tax, ad valorem tax, franchise taxregressive tax, marginal tax rate, sales tax, stealth tax, Tax Reform Act of 1986Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993, Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, sales and use tax, wash sale, windfall profits tax, withholding tax