Legislative histories may help reveal the legislative intent behind a law or better understand the language of an act or statute. Some commercial services have compiled legislative histories for various tax laws. A selection of these documents is listed below.
Bluebooks, issued by the Joint Committee on Taxation, are post-enactment reports of major tax legislation. Bluebooks are not technically part of an act's legislative history, but they may be relevant to analysis of the act.
For more information about researching and compiling legislative histories, see our Federal Legislative History guide.
Joint Committee Bluebooks Joint Committee on Taxation, U.S. Congress
Coverage from August 18, 1969 to present.
The Joint Committee Bluebooks are also available on the library's Lexis and Westlaw computers.
Tax Legislative Histories
Available on HeinOnline in the Tax & Economic Reform in America Parts I & II database. Coverage varies by source. Some histories may not be complete. Once in HeinOnline, select Browse Collections by Name > Tax & Economic Reform in America Parts I & II > Tax Legislative Histories.
Tax related legislative histories already compiled on HeinOnline include:
- Internal Revenue Acts of the United States: Revenue Act of 1954 with Legislative Histories and Congressional Documents
- Legislative History of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights 2: P.L. 104-168 (1998)
- Legislative History of United States Tax Conventions (1962)
- Seidman's Legislative History of Excess Profits Tax Laws: 1946-1917 (1947)
- Seidman's Legislative History of Federal Income and Excess Profits Tax Laws: 1953-1939 (1954)
- Seidman's Legislative History of Federal Income Tax Laws: 1938-1861 (1938)
- Summary of the New Provisions of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 (1955)
- Tax Reduction Act of 1975, P.L. 94-12 (H.R. 2166): The Legislative Development of Each Provision, Including Those Items Not Adopted (1975)
Additional compiled legislative histories may be available in HeinOnline's U.S. Federal Legislative History Library. This library includes options to search or browse the U.S. Federal History Title Collection and Sources of Compiled Legislative History Database. For information about these resources, please see the Already Compiled Histories page in the Federal Legislative History guide or watch the Jenkins Law Library Video Tip: HeinOnline's Federal Legislative History.
Additional congressional documents may also be available in HeinOnline's U.S. Congressional Documents database. For more information on how to find congressional documents, see the Congressional Documents research guide.
IRC Legislative History
Available on the library's Lexis computers. From the Content Type tab, select Statutes & Legislation > Federal > IRC Legislative History (located in the Legislative Histories section). Coverage includes approximately 1,500 IRC sections.
- From Lexis: A Legislative History document for a particular IRC section is a compilation of pertinent excerpts from the Congressional Committee Reports that accompany Public Laws. It provides a chronology of the creation, revision, and/or repeal of the IRC section(s). Lexis in-house staff reviews each committee report in its entirety and selects excerpts to include in the Legislative Histories. The Public Laws that affect each IRC section are listed in reverse chronological order. Excerpts from the corresponding conference committee report for each Public Law are listed first, followed in order by excerpts from the Senate and House reports, where applicable.
Joint Committee Bluebooks
Available on the library's Lexis computers. From the Content Type tab, select Statutes & Legislation > Federal > Tax Legislative Histories, Combined (located in the Legislative Histories section). Includes Joint Committee Bluebooks from 1976 to current. Additional materials also available. See the scope notes for more information.
Federal Tax Legislative History
Available on the library's Westlaw computers. From the All Content tab, select Legislative History > Legislative History - United States Code > Tax Legislative History (located in the Tools & Resources box on the right). Coverage includes Congressional committee reports setting out the legislative history of tax-related public laws as reprinted in U.S. Code Congressional and Administrative News from 1948 through 1989. From 1990 forward, the database contains all congressional committee reports, including reports on bills that did not become law. Presidential signing statements, issued at the time the president signed a bill into law, are also included.
Materials on the Tax Reform Act of 1986
Available on the library's Westlaw computers. From the All Content tab, select Legislative History > Arnold & Porter Legislative Histories (located in the Tools & Resources box on the right) > Tax Reform Act of 1986.
Joint Committee Bluebooks
Available on the library's Westlaw computers. From the All Content tab, select Legislative History > Joint Committee on Taxation Prints (Bluebooks) (located in the Tools & Resources box on the right). Bluebooks available for 1976, 1981, 1982, 1986, 1991, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, and all editions from 2001 to the present. Includes JCS Prints and JCX Prints.
Library has updates through April 2003.
- Series I is a legislative history of the Internal Revenue Code of 1969 through 1975 and may also include sections from the 1954 Act.
- Series II is a legislative history of the Internal Revenue Code from the Tax Reform Act of 1976 through 1977.
- Series III is a legislative history of the Internal Revenue Code from the Revenue Act of 1978 through the Miscellaneous Revenue Act of 1980.
- Series IV is a legislative history of the Internal Revenue Code from the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 up to, but not including, the Tax Reform Act of 1986.
- Series V is a legislative history of selected sections of the Internal Revenue Code as affected by the Tax Reform Act of 1986 and subsequent law up to April 2003.