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Historical Perspectives on the Federal Income Tax

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This question stems from the fact that some titles of the United States Code (U.S.C.) have been enacted into what is called "positive law" and others have not. Title 26, Internal Revenue, has not been enacted into positive law.

The U.S.C. is divided into fifty titles. Of these fifty titles, twenty and part of another have been enacted into positive law. If a title has been so enacted, the text of that title constitutes legal evidence of the laws in that title. If the title has not been so enacted, the title is only prima facie evidence of the actual law. The courts could require proof of the statutes underlying the title, which are the positive law when the title has not been enacted into positive law.

The Office of Law Revision Counsel, which has the responsibility for preparing titles for enactment into positive law, states that titles are chosen for enactment into positive law on two bases. Some are chosen because of congressional mandate that the laws be codified. Otherwise, the Office of Law Revision Counsel prefers to select titles which cover areas of minimal legislative activity. The tax laws do not meet either one of these criteria

The underlying statute, and in the case of the tax laws the positive law, for the tax code is the Internal Revenue Code of 198630 as amended.  Title 26 of the U.S.C. Is an editorial codification of this act prepared and published under the supervision of the House Judiciary Committee, pursuant to statute31 The


courts, in short, have the discretion to recognize the IRC as the applicable law, or require proof of the underlying Statute.32

29 Id.

30 Pub. L. 99-514,100 Stat. 2086, 99th Cong., 2nd Sess. (1986).

31 See, 1 U.S.C. 1 202.

32 Young v. IRS, 596 F.2d 141 at 149 (N.D. Ind. 1984).

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