Taxing Definitions

Definition — IRS Documents and Al Capone

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Given the confidentiality provisions of Internal Revenue Code Section 6103, do you know why the IRS was able to release the records of the investigation of Al Capone?

When you’re researching a tax question, you may choose to stick with standard sources, such as tax guides, the IRS web site, or even a simple Google search. But the IRS issues a lot of other publications that might help with your research, especially for issues that are less clear-cut.

For example, you can learn about industry-specific examination techniques by reading the Market Segment Specialization Program guides (Audit Techniques Guides). More than 50 of these guides are available online, covering topics such as Passive Activities, Ministers, and Cash-Intensive Businesses.

You can also find Internal Revenue Bulletins, which contain published tax guidance, as well as the Internal Revenue Manual, which explains operational and administration policies of the IRS, and the Tax Crimes Handbook.

Other documents include legal advice to field agents from the chief IRS lawyer. You may be familiar with these acronyms:

You can find—and read, for free—all of these documents, and more, at the IRS website in the Electronic Reading Room.

Image source: United States Department of Justice, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Image source: United States Department of Justice, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

You’ll also find there the historical records of the IRS investigation of Al Capone,

For extra credit, do you know Al’s


Note: The tax court issued no opinions this week. Taxing Lessons case summaries will resume when new opinions are posted.


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Because Capone never filed a tax return.
Alphonse. His middle name was Gabriel.
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2 thoughts on “Definition — IRS Documents and Al Capone

  1. Interesting article.
    Probably not too many people knew the answers to the Capone questions unless they’re over 60 like me. 🙂

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