What is a 'Tax Code'

A tax code is a federal government document, numbering tens of thousands of pages that details the rules individuals and businesses must follow, in remitting a percentage of their incomes to the federal government. The tax code is used as a source by tax lawyers whom bear the responsibility of interpreting it for the public.


A number of secondary sources, such as the numbered Internal Revenue Service publications, Treasury regulations, revenue rulings, and mass-market income-tax books, attempt to put the tax code into plain language for taxpayers. Taxpayers can often correctly comply with tax rules by following the guidelines laid out in these secondary publications, but for more complex situations, it may be necessary to consult the tax code directly, to decipher the tax laws.

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