Legislative History

Locating Tax Legislative History Materials

Locating Tax Legislative Histories by Code Section

  • Tax Management- Primary Sources, BNA, This set includes five loose-leaf volumes of legislative history documents from 1969 onward. The legislative histories appear in code section order and include presidential messages, House and Senate reports, Conference reports and debates.
  • Federal Income, Gift and Estate Taxation, Rabkin and Johnson, Volumes 6, 6A, 6B, 7, 7A, and 7B of this loose-leaf set are arranged in code section order and contain select committee reports concerning the 1954 Code only.
  • Seidman’s Legislative History of Federal Income Tax Laws, 1861-1938,
  • Seidman’s Legislative History of Federal Income and Excess Profits Tax Laws, 1953-1939,
  • Seidman’s is helpful in ascertaining the legislative history of provisions of the 1939 Code or earlier provisions. This series provides the text of Code sections, followed by committee reports, hearings citations, and citations to the Congressional Record.

Locating Legislative Histories by Public Law Number

  • A Guide and Analytical Index to the Internal Revenue Acts of the United States, 1909-1950, This work provides very comprehensive legislative histories. Its volumes include the congressional version of revenue bills and the full text of hearings, committee reports, and regulations. The set includes a chronological index, which lists the acts and all the items making up the acts’ legislative histories.
  • Internal Revenue Bulletin. This is the official weekly publication of the Internal Revenue Service, which contains committee reports, conference reports, and the full text of tax laws in Part II. It is eventually compiled into the Cumulative Bulletin, Westlaw and Lexis.
  • Internal Revenue Acts. These pamphlets are issued on a yearly basis and are helpful in researching the text and history of sections from the 1954 and 1986 Codes. The pamphlets include the full text of recently enacted statutes in chronological order and, in the second section of the pamphlets, include the text of selected committee reports and Congressional Record statements.

Other Sources for Locating Legislative History

  • Joint Committee Blue Books (in the House website). Generally, at the end of each Congress, the Joint Committee Staff, in consultation with the staffs of the House Committee on Ways and Means and the Senate Committee on Finance, prepare explanations of the enacted tax legislation. The explanation follows the chronological order of the tax legislation as signed into law. For each provision, the document includes a description of present law, explanation of the provision, and effective date. Present law describes the law in effect immediately prior to enactment. It does not reflect changes to the law made by the provision or subsequent to the enactment of the provision. For many provisions, the reasons for change are also included.
  • Westlaw: (previous) Federal Taxation Legislative History Database: FTX-LH This database contained the Congressional committee reports as reprinted in U.S. Code Congressional and Administrative News from 1948 through the present.
  • Lexis: Federal Tax Legislation, Congressional Reports, & Bills Database: (previous) FEDTAX;LEGIS.  This database contains selected House, Senate, and Conference Committee bills and reports, as well as Public Laws, from 1954 to the present.

For additional information on locating legislative history materials in resources which are not tax-specific click on the following link to access information about Researching Legislative History in the World Encyclopedia of Law.

Citing Legislative History Materials in Bluebook

See Bluebook Rule 13 for information on citing bills, committee hearings, and reports







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