Fed Income Taxation tips

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dazzleberry
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Fed Income Taxation tips

Postby dazzleberry » Mon Jan 16, 2012 11:21 pm

I'm going to start fed income tomorrow, and I'd really appreciate any advice from students who have already taken it.
I have two specific questions, and I also welcome and appreciate any general advice from the forum.

(1) Are there any supplements that would be extremely useful (like Chemerinsky for Con)? Chirelstein is required for my class.

(2) The final is probably going to be an insanely tricky multiple choice exam. I haven't taken any multiple choice law-school exams yet. Any advice on how to start preparing early on this one?

Any advice is welcome, thanks.

ran12
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Re: Fed Income Taxation tips

Postby ran12 » Tue Jan 17, 2012 1:19 am

I think the best advice is to just heed Pomp's warning and keep up with the reading. Black letter outlines by WestLaw is pretty good for helping with outlining and concepts. E&E could be pretty useful too but Chirelstein is a great supplement, and is prob all you really need. Not sure if there are any good MC supplements.

dazzleberry
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Re: Fed Income Taxation tips

Postby dazzleberry » Tue Jan 17, 2012 1:21 am

ran12 wrote:I think the best advice is to just heed Pomp's warning and keep up with the reading. Black letter outlines by WestLaw is pretty good for helping with outlining and concepts. E&E could be pretty useful too but Chirelstein is a great supplement, and is prob all you really need. Not sure if there are any good MC supplements.


Thanks for the advice! I'm a little terrified of him.

Geist13
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Re: Fed Income Taxation tips

Postby Geist13 » Tue Jan 17, 2012 1:39 am

When it comes to tax, the best recommendation I have is to drop it. Take a different class; seriously. It will ruin you.

PirateCap'n
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Re: Fed Income Taxation tips

Postby PirateCap'n » Tue Jan 17, 2012 11:09 am

Geist13 wrote:When it comes to tax, the best recommendation I have is to drop it. Take a different class; seriously. It will ruin you.


100% agree with this.

imchuckbass58
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Re: Fed Income Taxation tips

Postby imchuckbass58 » Tue Jan 17, 2012 11:26 am

The Tax E&E is really good. It followed my class almost exactly, and the questions are even more helpful than a normal E&E, since half tax is understanding the tricky and sometimes bizarre application of relatively simple rules.

As for the multiple choice issue, I prepped the same way (still made an outline), but I would focus more on doing practice problems (in the E&E and wherever else you can get them), and would focus more on actually learning the BLL rather than being able to show off in applying it. Multiple choice exams are supposed to have one correct answer, so it doesn't really help as much to be able to argue both ways on some ambiguous point.

dazzleberry
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Re: Fed Income Taxation tips

Postby dazzleberry » Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:55 pm

imchuckbass58 wrote:The Tax E&E is really good. It followed my class almost exactly, and the questions are even more helpful than a normal E&E, since half tax is understanding the tricky and sometimes bizarre application of relatively simple rules.

As for the multiple choice issue, I prepped the same way (still made an outline), but I would focus more on doing practice problems (in the E&E and wherever else you can get them), and would focus more on actually learning the BLL rather than being able to show off in applying it. Multiple choice exams are supposed to have one correct answer, so it doesn't really help as much to be able to argue both ways on some ambiguous point.


Thanks I'll look into the fed income E&E. I didn't find the E&E's especially helpful for my first semester classes, but I'll give it a shot with fed income.

To those suggesting I drop out... I was seriously considering it. But at this point I want to stick with it. The subject interests me more than the other stat regs offered. This class will also help me determine whether I want to get a tax certificate.

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philly_law
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Re: Fed Income Taxation tips

Postby philly_law » Tue Jan 17, 2012 1:03 pm

Actually read the relevant parts of the Code and attempt to understand them. It's tough at first but worthwhile.

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patrickd139
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Re: Fed Income Taxation tips

Postby patrickd139 » Tue Jan 17, 2012 8:12 pm

philly_law wrote:Actually read the relevant parts of the Code and attempt to understand them. It's tough at first but worthwhile.

This is how I did very well in individual income. I'm not sure this strategy will work as well for corporate.

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Antilles Haven
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Re: Fed Income Taxation tips

Postby Antilles Haven » Wed Jan 18, 2012 2:09 am

Fortunately Chirelstein is the best supplement available for understanding income.

This could be totally different for other professors, but income tax seems to hit that perfect combination of voluminous, difficult, and boring, and I imagine the average exam is much lower in quality compared to a more normal class. So really keeping up with the reading, paying attention in class, and thoroughly understanding the material I think will give you a solid edge in this class; whereas in most other classes it's a bare necessity.

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I.P. Daly
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Re: Fed Income Taxation tips

Postby I.P. Daly » Sun Jan 22, 2012 11:39 am

Darn, I'm already finding that tax is boring.

gp86
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Re: Fed Income Taxation tips

Postby gp86 » Mon Jan 23, 2012 10:05 pm

It's probably too late for OP, but for others: drop the damn class. I actually did pretty well, but only at the expense of my other classes. And by "pretty well," I mean I was above median.

dazzleberry
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Re: Fed Income Taxation tips

Postby dazzleberry » Mon Jan 23, 2012 10:12 pm

Was going to take the dropping advice, but for whatever reason the office of the registrar at my school prohibited the dropping and adding of other classes long ago, so I'm stuck here. I was planning on either IP or Insurance before I got the news that I'm to be immobile.

gp86
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Re: Fed Income Taxation tips

Postby gp86 » Mon Jan 23, 2012 11:22 pm

Sorry, should have been constructive:

1) Posin's Hornbook was incredibly helpful for me. Chirelstein didn't offer the level of detail I needed to understand the material; Posin is much more comprehensive, but not dense. He tries hard to be reader-friendly.

2) Law-in-a-Flash is a helpful tool. The cards are pretty straightforward and simplistic for the most part, but they cover all the bases you'll need. Break them out with friends as exam time comes near.

3) Read the regulations. Early on I blew them off because I considered them less important than the Code. While that may be true, the regs - even the proposed ones - offer the clearest insight into the workings of the Code. Think of them as the notes after a principal case in a casebook.

4) Don't worry about the MC questions. There are some "but where do we draw the line?!?" issues in tax, but for the most part it's pretty straightforward. There's just a lot of straightforward stuff to keep in mind for any given question (Can you deduct or capitalize? Depends if its a repair or improvement. Well, also if its a trade or business. Wait, does 263 or 263A apply? ...and so on). On my exam, I got the feeling that each MC question was geared towards testing a particular principle or situation we covered during the course. You won't cover everything in the course (we didn't even do 1031 exchanges, and barely touched on gifts), so this is one of those classes where it's important to actually pay attention. Your prof will probably have certain cases or scenarios (recourse vs. non-recourse mortgages was a favorite of mine) that he or she will emphasize.

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nealric
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Re: Fed Income Taxation tips

Postby nealric » Tue Jan 24, 2012 11:39 pm

Geist13 wrote:When it comes to tax, the best recommendation I have is to drop it. Take a different class; seriously. It will ruin you.


Baby tax? Really, it's not that bad. Partnership tax I could see. It will only ruin you if you blow it off.

Darn, I'm already finding that tax is boring.


It's because you either have a bad prof or haven't gotten far enough along. The tax code is really a wonderous thing once the mechanics come together. It only seems boring as a set of out of context rules. If nothing else, it's one of the few statutory classes you take in law schoolwhere you are personally required to comply with the laws you study.

As far as supplements, the E&E is pretty decent.

I am a tax lawyer- take from that what you will.

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TTH
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Re: Fed Income Taxation tips

Postby TTH » Thu Jan 26, 2012 10:39 am

For those of you who have already taken fed income tax, how well do you feel like you need to know the code and regs themselves? This is the first class I've taken that's so heavy in statutes, and I feel like I'm getting bogged down in the code. I find the class very interesting, though, but in other classes that have had a lot of statutes or codified rules, I've not paid a lot of attention to mastering the rules themselves and how they fit together.

Is there another way to attack tax or do you just muscle through the applicable code sections/regs? Thanks.

03121202698008
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Re: Fed Income Taxation tips

Postby 03121202698008 » Thu Jan 26, 2012 10:56 am

TTH wrote:For those of you who have already taken fed income tax, how well do you feel like you need to know the code and regs themselves? This is the first class I've taken that's so heavy in statutes, and I feel like I'm getting bogged down in the code. I find the class very interesting, though, but in other classes that have had a lot of statutes or codified rules, I've not paid a lot of attention to mastering the rules themselves and how they fit together.

Is there another way to attack tax or do you just muscle through the applicable code sections/regs? Thanks.


For my prof, you didn't need to know the actual language just the basic idea of each provision...e.g what the basis is for a gift not one of the 5 exceptions the rule provides that we didn't discuss. CPAs take multiple classes to cover the whole code...no way we can do it in one semester.

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Antilles Haven
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Re: Fed Income Taxation tips

Postby Antilles Haven » Thu Jan 26, 2012 11:43 am

nealric wrote:Baby tax? Really, it's not that bad. Partnership tax I could see. It will only ruin you if you blow it off.

Partnership is infinitely more fun than income, because it's actually a cohesive unit instead of starting with 61, 1001, and then shooting off life a firecracker in every direction across the entire revenue code. Again, it varies by classes, but it was the only test I've done well on by just memorizing every tree and never bothering to take a look at the forest.

Also, except for the big cases (inajaland, kirby lumber, allison sullivan) pretty much the entire material is going be code provisions, and even most of the cases get codified anyways (benaglia). So yes, I would definitely keep up and just slug through them.

imchuckbass58
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Re: Fed Income Taxation tips

Postby imchuckbass58 » Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:32 pm

TTH wrote:For those of you who have already taken fed income tax, how well do you feel like you need to know the code and regs themselves? This is the first class I've taken that's so heavy in statutes, and I feel like I'm getting bogged down in the code. I find the class very interesting, though, but in other classes that have had a lot of statutes or codified rules, I've not paid a lot of attention to mastering the rules themselves and how they fit together.

Is there another way to attack tax or do you just muscle through the applicable code sections/regs? Thanks.


You have to know them really, really well. The code is rife with rules, exceptions, exceptions to the exception, etc. Especially if you have a multiple choice exam, you will be tested almost exclusively on your ability to apply the code.

dazzleberry
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Re: Fed Income Taxation tips

Postby dazzleberry » Thu Jan 26, 2012 6:32 pm

The test in my class was switched to a 24 hour take home short answer test. I actually would have preferred the multiple choice. How would one go about this kind of exam in fed income? Since it's short answer I imagine there's going to be a word limit for each answer, but I'm unsure about that specific. I figure code will still play a huge part in doing well on a test like this, but everyone's going to have the code open in front of them, so there will probably be some intangible other quality the prof is looking for.

gp86
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Re: Fed Income Taxation tips

Postby gp86 » Thu Jan 26, 2012 8:11 pm

imchuckbass58 wrote:
TTH wrote:For those of you who have already taken fed income tax, how well do you feel like you need to know the code and regs themselves? This is the first class I've taken that's so heavy in statutes, and I feel like I'm getting bogged down in the code. I find the class very interesting, though, but in other classes that have had a lot of statutes or codified rules, I've not paid a lot of attention to mastering the rules themselves and how they fit together.

Is there another way to attack tax or do you just muscle through the applicable code sections/regs? Thanks.


You have to know them really, really well. The code is rife with rules, exceptions, exceptions to the exception, etc. Especially if you have a multiple choice exam, you will be tested almost exclusively on your ability to apply the code.


Yes, you'll have the Code in front of you, but it helps immensely to know exactly where to look to clarify something. For example, on my exam, there was a question where an employee was reimbursed for interest paid on office equipment. A student's first instinct is think, easy - above the line under 62(a)(2)(A). But wait - 163(h)(2)(A) specifically disallows this. If you knew that, the question takes seconds. If not, you could waste minutes reading through 163.

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I.P. Daly
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Re: Fed Income Taxation tips

Postby I.P. Daly » Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:04 pm

Any suggestions for outlining?

de5igual
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Re: Fed Income Taxation tips

Postby de5igual » Thu Jan 26, 2012 11:01 pm

I.P. Daly wrote:Any suggestions for outlining?


not worth the time/effort

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TTH
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Re: Fed Income Taxation tips

Postby TTH » Fri Jan 27, 2012 2:30 am

f0bolous wrote:
I.P. Daly wrote:Any suggestions for outlining?


not worth the time/effort


True facts? Seems like it would be worthwhile to do some kind outline/flowcharts, or at least a list of the different sections and their subject-matter.

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I.P. Daly
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Re: Fed Income Taxation tips

Postby I.P. Daly » Sun Jan 29, 2012 11:11 pm

Wikipedia seems to be a great resource for tax.

Can any tax veterans verify Wiki's usefulness?




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