Here is a simple history lesson about the IRS. The Internal Revenue Service developed the IRS Code back in the Civil War era. It has gone through changes throughout the years, the last one being in 1998. The IRS Code (also known as the IRC) is the legal document (multitudes of regulations, rules, notices, amendments, etc.) that contains the United States tax laws. The more you understand this body of work, the easier your life will be. However, if you do not want to learn this law, at least have a tax professional explain it to you and help you with your tax return. Or, get a basic idea.
As mentioned, the IRS Rules and Regulations are found in the IRS publications. Of course, publications are broken down per subject matter. Every topic covered in any tax form will be covered by either a rule or regulation. These rules and regulations set guidelines and standards for taxpayers to follow and abide by. And, it is continually changing while being updated. That is the IRS Code in simple terms. Try reading and learning this enormous body of work, and you will gain an appreciation for the Internal Revenue Service. (Or, end up with a huge headache).
For instance, depreciation rules taxpayers must follow are found in publication 946 How to Depreciate Property.
Business owners must follow rules set forth in Publication 535 Business Expenses.
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