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2012 CCH Whole Ball of Tax
When It Comes to Tax Law, It’s Complicated
CCH Tackles Questions About the Length and Legacy of Tax Law
(RIVERWOODS, ILL., January 2012) – For politicians trying to simplify the law; tax and accounting professionals advising clients while wrestling with thousands of pages of code and regulations; and taxpayers trying to comply…without paying too much, the voluminous and ever-changing U.S. tax law presents a daunting challenge.
In the 99 years since the creation of the modern income tax, there have been many law changes, from major reform to ongoing tweaks. The result?
For CCH, what began in 1913 as a 400-page legal information service stands today as a 73,608 page, 25-volume service called CCH Standard Federal Tax Reporter, containing the federal tax law and related materials. A graph showing the history of how the Standard Federal Tax Reporter has grown in size can be viewed here at: www.cch.com/TaxLawPileUp.pdf.
“The federal tax law is a popular target for those wanting to point a finger at what they feel is a perfect example of bureaucracy bursting at the seams,” said CCH Principal Federal Tax Analyst Mark Luscombe, JD, LLM, CPA. “What’s important to realize is our nearly 100-year-old tax law has evolved over time and each change adds to the record of where things started compared to the current version.”
Federal Tax Law Background
Federal tax law basically begins with the Internal Revenue Code (IRC). Today, Title 26 of the United States Code contains most federal tax laws and is known as the Internal Revenue Code .
What’s now known as the federal tax law began with passage of the United States Revenue Act of 1913, also known as the Underwood Tariff Act. It was signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson on October 3, 1913 – eight months after the Sixteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified on February 3, 1913, which allowed for the federal income tax. The income tax was aimed at collecting revenue that many feared would drop due to newly reduced tariff duties.
The text of the Sixteenth Amendment, combined with the text of the United States Revenue Act of 1913, is generally considered to be the original tax code. Combined, these documents were approximately 27 pages in length, and the pages measured six by nine inches.
The Internal Revenue Code
CCH publishes the IRC and consistently updates the Code to reflect legislative changes. Twice each year, CCH publishes the text of the current Internal Revenue Code, with brief amendment notes that specifically identify changes made by Acts of Congress. Although this publication contains a table of contents, index and historical footnotes, it does not contain the additional information found in the Standard Federal Tax Reporter such as Committee Reports, regulations, explanations, annotations or new matters. (See below).
CCH’s most recent edition, the Winter Edition of the 2011 U.S. Internal Revenue Code contains 5,296 pages. It is also printed on the six by nine inch paper that the text of the Sixteenth Amendment and Revenue Act of 1913 were published on 99 years ago.
It’s important to note that, unlike publishers such as CCH, the government does not publish a stand-alone Internal Revenue Code separate from Title 26 of the United States Code.
Page count summary:
- 1913 tax law (which evolved to become tax code): estimated 27 pages; and
- 2011 CCH Winter Edition of the United States Internal Revenue Code: 5,296 pages.
CCH Standard Federal Tax Reporter
Following the ratification of the Sixteenth Amendment and passage of the Revenue Act of 1913, the Income Tax Service was published by a forerunner of CCH. The original loose-leaf volume contained the text of the Sixteenth Amendment and Revenue Act of 1913, as well as related regulations, rulings, official opinions, judicial decisions and forms. In its first year, this service grew to 400 pages. And it’s never stopped growing!
Over the years, the service became known as the CCH Standard Federal Tax Reporter, which in print is now a 25-volume set of binders filled with 73,608 loose leaf pages.
“CCH’s Standard Federal Tax Reporter is much more than just the Tax Code,” noted Luscombe. “It’s a cumulative, comprehensive, running record of all changes and additions to federal tax laws that CCH updates and publishes each year.”
Today, the CCH Standard Federal Tax Reporter contains the text of the income tax provisions of the current Internal Revenue Code; excerpts of relevant Committee Reports that explain the intent of Congress with respect to specific law changes; regulations; explanations; annotations or brief descriptions of agency guidance and judicial opinions; new matters and specific finding devices. A graph showing the history of how the Standard Federal Tax Reporter has grown in size can be viewed here at: www.cch.com/TaxLawPileUp.pdf.
Page count summary:
- 1913 Income Tax Service (text of income tax amendments to the Constitution and Income Tax Act of 1913, plus regulations, rulings, official opinions, judicial decsions and forms) – 400 pages; and
- 2012 CCH Standard Federal Tax Reporter (text of the income tax provisions of the Internal Revenue Code, regulations, explanations, annotations and more) – 73,608 pages.
Factors such as font size, word spacing and margin widths also must be taken into consideration when comparing how the original 1913 text has expanded into the current version.
About CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business
CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business (CCHGroup.com) is a leading provider of tax, accounting and audit information, software and services. It has served tax, accounting and business professionals since 1913. CCH is based in Riverwoods, Ill. Wolters Kluwer is a leading global information services and publishing company. Wolters Kluwer is headquartered in Alphen aan den Rijn, the Netherlands (www.wolterskluwer.com).
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