TaxAlmanac Offers Free Collaborative research

Intuit - Tax Almanac
www.taxalmanac.org

This article appeared with the December 2011 Review of Tax & Accounting Research Systems.

TaxAlmanac is a free online tax research resource designed for tax professionals. It is a wiki site and largely depends on tax professionals creating and sharing knowledge. A wiki site is simply a collection of web pages developed and maintained through volunteer collaboration, the most popular of which is Wikipedia.

TaxAlmanac is simple in design and easy to use. It may be accessed through any desktop or mobile browser. Homepage content is updated frequently, often more than once per day and includes current news stories and laws. In the middle of the homepage is a row of categorical links, such as income, deductions, credits and code. These links take users directly to a list of articles specific to that category. From there, users can click through to find more specific answers based on the articles currently published. The homepage also has direct links to the Internal Revenue Code and Treasury Regulations, though these links provide pure Code and no explanations or practical use examples.

TaxAlmanac currently contains over 75,000 articles, and the content is predominantly written by tax professionals and educators from across the country. Control over authors is lightly monitored, but generally the article contributors are respected individuals or frequent contributors. Typical articles are written in plain English and are not usually bogged down with technical code, which results in articles that are easy to read but not as thorough as other tax research options.

Searching within TaxAlmanac is similar to performing a basic internet search. The search box is on the left part of the screen and remains visible regardless of which screen users are currently viewing. Search results are displayed in groups based on page title and article content. Any relevant search terms located will be displayed with contextual descriptions, which may result in faster location of the desired research. Users may also enhance search results through advanced search options, which allow the user control over which areas should be searched or focused on.

TaxAlmanac proves to be a paradigm shift in the way tax and legal professionals perform tax research. The content contained within should typically be used as supplementary content and not as a primary source. All content is reliant on other users not only updating the articles, but updating the articles with the most recent and correct information. TaxAlmanac is a nice resource for professionals to gain quick answers and a brief overview of tax topics.

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