How to Communicate Tax Research Results

How to Communicate Tax Research Results

Communicating Research Results


File Memorandum

–          Organize fact, issues and conclusions

–          Facilitate review of activities by  supervisors or colleagues

–          Allow for subsequent examination


Initial determination is likely to be incomplete

–          Taxpayers see things from just their side

–          Taxpayers not trained in law

–          Not all statutes of facts are clear

–          Memories may not be clear

How to Communicate Tax Research Results



Relevant Facts




Actions to take


Evaluating Sources of Law

-regulations are seldom found invalid

–           revenue rulings and revenue procedures are modified

–           higher level courts have higher weight in sayings

–           Bound by rules within tax and court district

–           2nd, 9th, Federal Circuits are weighted more

–           older cases are worth less unless they are supreme court cases

–           tax treatises and journal articles reveal current issues

–           IRS agents only bound by code, courts and govt while practitioners – clients

–           court decisions are not predictable



Client Letters

Most common form of communication is phone call

Letter gets rid of many risks of calls

Should not exceed 2 pages

Only go over highlights or process

Answers best gone over in person

–          Salutation/general conclusion

–          Summary of results

–          Objective of report

–          Statement of facts and disclaimer

–          Summer of sources

–          Implications of results

–          Assumptions and/or limitations

–          Closing thoughts and suggest follow up meeting

–          Attachments

Effective Guidelines

–          Main points in first paragraph

–          State a purpose and stick to it

–          Avoid filler language

–          Avoid clichés or filler jargon that lacks substance

–          Follow 10-80-10 rule

  • 10% intro, 80% body, 10% conclusion

–          Be willing to revise

–          Spell names right and use titles

–          Practice writing and proof reading


Comprehensive Illustration of Client File

File includes:

–          Client letter

–          Client Memo

–          Engagement letter

–          Billing and collection history

–          Relevant research

–          Links to important analyses


Oral Presentations of Research Results

–          General preparation

  • Why me?
  • What do they want?
  • What is their attitude?
  • What should I stay away?
  • What do they already know?
  • Who is the audience?

–          Focus on conclusions and main points

–          Be brief and concise leaving details for Q&A

–          Use visual aids effectively

  • To convey difficult ideas text doesn’t explain
  • Save time through consolidation
  • Create interest
  • Emphasize a point
  • Organization
  • Introduce something to lighten the mood
  • Leave an idea in viewer’s mind
  • Slides should focus on pictures
  • Use a 6 by 6 rule on slides
  • Simple font
  • Professional background music
  • 3 minutes of speech for each slide
  • Have back up files and sources for presentation

–          Have your own equipment

–          Be close to the audience

–          Eliminate distraction

–          Use tones

–          Don’t mind silences

–          Do not read from slides or outline

–          Have plan B ready if needed

–          Avoid cliché jokes

How to Communicate Tax Research Results


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