federal income tax class with a closed book exam (code and regs book only)- HELP

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lawlskoolz

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federal income tax class with a closed book exam (code and regs book only)- HELP

Postby lawlskoolz » Wed Sep 28, 2016 5:53 pm

I really regret taking federal income tax class. Never before have I taken a class that I regret more. I am just not a numbers person...and find the material to be incredibly boring and confusing. I'm worried that I will fail. Worst of all, the professor said that the exam is going to be a 4 hour long CLOSED BOOK exam. The only thing we can bring in is our Code and Regulations book.

I spend a lot of time reviewing and going over the material (my professor teaches the class in a problem set manner by going over the problems in each class that we get assigned to for homework) and somehow it still doesn't process. It feels like another language, and a complicated one too.

I'm very worried that I'm going to fail. I have no idea what's going on. Does anyone have recommendations on supplements or any other way of studying this material for a fed income tax class that is problem-set focused?

I spend more time on this class than any of my other classes, and my other classes feel a lot easier.... yet this one I am totally lost in.

Textbooks we are using for the class:
Casebook- Freeland, Lathrope, Lind & Stephens, Fundamentals of Federal Income Taxation (Foundation Press, 18th Edition).
-CCH Code and Regulations.

Professor recommended for supplemental reading: Chirelstein & Zelenak, Federal Income Taxation (Foundation Press, 13th Edition).

dabigchina

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Re: federal income tax class with a closed book exam (code and regs book only)- HELP

Postby dabigchina » Wed Sep 28, 2016 7:23 pm

get the E&E. Chirelstein is too in depth IMO.

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jchiles

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Re: federal income tax class with a closed book exam (code and regs book only)- HELP

Postby jchiles » Wed Sep 28, 2016 7:54 pm

can you write in the book?

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tfer2222

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Re: federal income tax class with a closed book exam (code and regs book only)- HELP

Postby tfer2222 » Wed Sep 28, 2016 8:05 pm

dabigchina wrote:get the E&E. Chirelstein is too in depth IMO.


Yep. Read through these and do the E&E questions. Don't rely on your casebook too much, I found that pretty useless for my income tax class. Try to find old exams from your professor (this is important to see what you should focus on when studying). If unavailable, ask your prof for practice questions or look at other profs old exams just for practice.

The math involved is not difficult. Applying the concepts is tricky at first, but if you practice you'll realize it's not that bad. Also I ended up crushing my income tax exam because I made sure to not only work out the problems, but I also argued for alternative ways one could look at the problem/answer based on the shit we talked about in class (cases, pending IRS shit, etc.). Don't forget to lawyer-up your answer, don't just do the math. A lot of people just worked out the problem without arguing anything and left a lot of points on the table. That said, every exam is very professor-specific, so you should definitely try to get your hands on old exams if possible.

And tab the shit out of your code book so you can quickly flip to code provisions you know you'll need. Write the code on the tab flag sticking out of the side. Find out if you can make little notes in the margins of your code book. Like case names next to relevant provisions to jog your memory mid-exam.

edit: I'm a few years out so it's been a while since I've taken this class (or any class), but I made a seriously killer flow chart for characterizing long-term capital gains vs. short-term capital gains. Prof actually ended up using it for later classes. I'll try to dig it up.
Last edited by tfer2222 on Wed Sep 28, 2016 8:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

lawlskoolz

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Re: federal income tax class with a closed book exam (code and regs book only)- HELP

Postby lawlskoolz » Wed Sep 28, 2016 8:06 pm

In response to jchiles, not really. A few highlights and scribbles here and there, and post its. There's really not enough room in the code and regs book to write anything lengthy down.

My main concern is that I don't comprehend the material and that this all feels like another language to me. I hate looking at numbers and have zero econ /accounting/anything numbers background.

In the words of my professor regarding the code and regs book... "you may reasonably annotate".

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BasilHallward

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Re: federal income tax class with a closed book exam (code and regs book only)- HELP

Postby BasilHallward » Wed Sep 28, 2016 8:15 pm

tfer2222 wrote:
dabigchina wrote:get the E&E. Chirelstein is too in depth IMO.


Yep. Read through these and do the E&E questions. Don't rely on your casebook too much, I found that pretty useless for my income tax class. Try to find old exams from your professor (this is important to see what you should focus on when studying). If unavailable, ask your prof for practice questions or look at other profs old exams just for practice.

The math involved is not difficult. Applying the concepts is tricky at first, but if you practice you'll realize it's not that bad. Also I ended up crushing my income tax exam because I made sure to not only work out the problems, but I also argued for alternative ways one could look at the problem/answer based on the shit we talked about in class (cases, pending IRS shit, etc.). Don't forget to lawyer-up your answer, don't just do the math. A lot of people just worked out the problem without arguing anything and left a lot of points on the table. That said, every exam is very professor-specific, so you should definitely try to get your hands on old exams if possible.

And tab the shit out of your code book so you can quickly flip to code provisions you know you'll need. Write the code on the tab flag sticking out of the side. Find out if you can make little notes in the margins of your code book. Like case names next to relevant provisions to jog your memory mid-exam.

edit: I'm a few years out so it's been a while since I've taken this class (or any class), but I made a seriously killer flow chart for characterizing long-term capital gains vs. short-term capital gains. Prof actually ended up using it for later classes. I'll try to dig it up.


+1 Interested in this

grades??

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Re: federal income tax class with a closed book exam (code and regs book only)- HELP

Postby grades?? » Wed Sep 28, 2016 8:17 pm

BasilHallward wrote:
tfer2222 wrote:
dabigchina wrote:get the E&E. Chirelstein is too in depth IMO.


Yep. Read through these and do the E&E questions. Don't rely on your casebook too much, I found that pretty useless for my income tax class. Try to find old exams from your professor (this is important to see what you should focus on when studying). If unavailable, ask your prof for practice questions or look at other profs old exams just for practice.

The math involved is not difficult. Applying the concepts is tricky at first, but if you practice you'll realize it's not that bad. Also I ended up crushing my income tax exam because I made sure to not only work out the problems, but I also argued for alternative ways one could look at the problem/answer based on the shit we talked about in class (cases, pending IRS shit, etc.). Don't forget to lawyer-up your answer, don't just do the math. A lot of people just worked out the problem without arguing anything and left a lot of points on the table. That said, every exam is very professor-specific, so you should definitely try to get your hands on old exams if possible.

And tab the shit out of your code book so you can quickly flip to code provisions you know you'll need. Write the code on the tab flag sticking out of the side. Find out if you can make little notes in the margins of your code book. Like case names next to relevant provisions to jog your memory mid-exam.

edit: I'm a few years out so it's been a while since I've taken this class (or any class), but I made a seriously killer flow chart for characterizing long-term capital gains vs. short-term capital gains. Prof actually ended up using it for later classes. I'll try to dig it up.


+1 Interested in this


+2 interested

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ArtistOfManliness

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Re: federal income tax class with a closed book exam (code and regs book only)- HELP

Postby ArtistOfManliness » Wed Sep 28, 2016 8:19 pm

It's september. You'll be fine. Flashcards are amazing.

RaceJudicata

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Re: federal income tax class with a closed book exam (code and regs book only)- HELP

Postby RaceJudicata » Wed Sep 28, 2016 9:07 pm

You have plenty of time. Very early in the semester. The biggest risk you face is mentally determining that you will fail. Take that energy and make a concerted effort to understand the material -- its not that hard. Yes, its confusing at first, but do plenty of E&E problems, and you'll get the hang of it (if you actually take the time to figure out what you are doing wrong).

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Re: federal income tax class with a closed book exam (code and regs book only)- HELP

Postby valen » Thu Sep 29, 2016 8:26 am

grades?? wrote:
BasilHallward wrote:
tfer2222 wrote:
dabigchina wrote:get the E&E. Chirelstein is too in depth IMO.


Yep. Read through these and do the E&E questions. Don't rely on your casebook too much, I found that pretty useless for my income tax class. Try to find old exams from your professor (this is important to see what you should focus on when studying). If unavailable, ask your prof for practice questions or look at other profs old exams just for practice.

The math involved is not difficult. Applying the concepts is tricky at first, but if you practice you'll realize it's not that bad. Also I ended up crushing my income tax exam because I made sure to not only work out the problems, but I also argued for alternative ways one could look at the problem/answer based on the shit we talked about in class (cases, pending IRS shit, etc.). Don't forget to lawyer-up your answer, don't just do the math. A lot of people just worked out the problem without arguing anything and left a lot of points on the table. That said, every exam is very professor-specific, so you should definitely try to get your hands on old exams if possible.

And tab the shit out of your code book so you can quickly flip to code provisions you know you'll need. Write the code on the tab flag sticking out of the side. Find out if you can make little notes in the margins of your code book. Like case names next to relevant provisions to jog your memory mid-exam.

edit: I'm a few years out so it's been a while since I've taken this class (or any class), but I made a seriously killer flow chart for characterizing long-term capital gains vs. short-term capital gains. Prof actually ended up using it for later classes. I'll try to dig it up.


+1 Interested in this


+2 interested

Also interested

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tfer2222

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Re: federal income tax class with a closed book exam (code and regs book only)- HELP

Postby tfer2222 » Thu Sep 29, 2016 10:30 am

anybody have a recommended way to post a link to the characterization flowchart doc on this board? Otherwise just PM me your email address and i'll send it to whoever wants it.

Note that the flowchart is very abbreviated and requires actually understanding the material before its useful (lots of shorthand used just to jog memory/serve as a sort of checklist when working through these problems). It was also specific to my prof's focus on the materials and applied to the 2012 (I think) code, which may have since changed. That said, after making it I could seriously fly through those problems while other people were scratching their heads. I'm also just a big OCD flowchart kinda guy so it might not work for everyone.

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ggocat

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Re: federal income tax class with a closed book exam (code and regs book only)- HELP

Postby ggocat » Thu Sep 29, 2016 11:09 am

lawlskoolz wrote:Does anyone have recommendations on supplements or any other way of studying this material for a fed income tax class that is problem-set focused?

It's difficult to give general advice for Fed Tax because I get the impression that the topics covered can vary from one professor to another. There's a lot of content to work with! Are there any topics in particular you're having trouble with? My tax class was also very problem-focused (with case reading, as well, of course).

I think the thing that helped me the most with Tax was actually doing my own income taxes "by hand" (i.e., not Turbotax or other software). It really helps you get a feel for how all the concepts fit together -- e.g., how income/gains, deductions, and credits all relate to each other. See the forest vs. the trees.

Have you filed your own taxes before? You might try filling out Form 1040 using your own tax information and/or information provided to you by your problems or examples of problems. You could download Form 1040 and the Instructions and go through Form 1040 line-by-line with reference to the instructions, paying particular attention to items covered in your class. And if there's a topic that requires a scheduled (e.g., Schedule D for capital gains, Schedule C for sole proprietor business), review those and accompanying instructions as well. The instructions and IRS Publications online are written simply enough that average joe is supposed to be able to file his taxes. The IRC/Regs are much, much more lawyerish.

Form 1040 -- https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1040.pdf
Instructions -- https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i1040gi.pdf

Winter is Coming

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Re: federal income tax class with a closed book exam (code and regs book only)- HELP

Postby Winter is Coming » Thu Sep 29, 2016 11:51 am

If your class is problem based, the E&E is awesome. Cases in Fed Tax are interesting in a sense, but my exam required reference to literally none of them.

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tfer2222

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Re: federal income tax class with a closed book exam (code and regs book only)- HELP

Postby tfer2222 » Thu Sep 29, 2016 11:59 am

Winter is Coming wrote:If your class is problem based, the E&E is awesome. Cases in Fed Tax are interesting in a sense, but my exam required reference to literally none of them.


agreed. i threw in a couple on the exam just for kicks but I didn't even buy/rent the casebook for that class.

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Leprechaun

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Re: federal income tax class with a closed book exam (code and regs book only)- HELP

Postby Leprechaun » Fri Sep 30, 2016 9:31 am

I used the Acing Federal Income Tax book and thought it did a good job for a basic tax class. YMMV but the Acing book taught stuff to me in a common sense, methodical way. Kind of like, if this, then that, otherwise this, etc.

(And generally, I'm not one that uses supplements as I don't put a whole lot of value in learning what some other author writes instead of focusing on what my professor wants me to learn, but the Acing book for me was much clearer than the textbook)

lawlskoolz

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Re: federal income tax class with a closed book exam (code and regs book only)- HELP

Postby lawlskoolz » Fri Sep 30, 2016 10:28 am

Leprechaun wrote:I used the Acing Federal Income Tax book and thought it did a good job for a basic tax class. YMMV but the Acing book taught stuff to me in a common sense, methodical way. Kind of like, if this, then that, otherwise this, etc.

(And generally, I'm not one that uses supplements as I don't put a whole lot of value in learning what some other author writes instead of focusing on what my professor wants me to learn, but the Acing book for me was much clearer than the textbook)


Did your professor teach and have the exam structured through a problem-set style? In class, we go over problem sets and the final is supposed to be like that too.

lawlskoolz

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Re: federal income tax class with a closed book exam (code and regs book only)- HELP

Postby lawlskoolz » Fri Sep 30, 2016 10:30 am

Also, is it possible to fail federal income tax .... so anxious about the exam

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Leprechaun

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Re: federal income tax class with a closed book exam (code and regs book only)- HELP

Postby Leprechaun » Fri Sep 30, 2016 2:08 pm

lawlskoolz wrote:
Did your professor teach and have the exam structured through a problem-set style? In class, we go over problem sets and the final is supposed to be like that too.


Yes, our whole curriculum was problem driven.



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