menu

How to Cite the Internal Revenue Code


Graduates who enroll in law school and undergraduate college students majoring in accounting, business, political science, finance or pre-law often cite Internal Revenue Code on their assignments and research papers. The Internal Revenue Service lists specific guidelines for citing Internal Revenue Code on reports, assignments and tax documents. You should always consult your college instructor to verify her preferred citation method before finalizing your paper.

Cite the Code using the initials I.R.C., and place a period after each capitalized letter. I.R.C. stands for the most current edition of the Internal Revenue Code.

After the I.R.C., leave a single space and enter the section symbol. The section symbol looks like two capitalized, interlocking letter "S's" stacked on top of one another. You can find the section symbol in the symbols menu on your computer. For example, in Microsoft Word, click "Insert" in the toolbar and go to the end to the "Symbol" tab. Select "Special Characters" and "Section" to enter the section symbol.

Place a single space after the section symbol and enter the numbers that correspond with the Code. Always place a period at the end of the numbers. For example, your Code citation will look something like I.R.C. §§ 55–59., according to Georgetown University's Citation and Style Manual 2013-2014. When citing an older edition of the Code from 1939 or 1954, include the year in parentheses after the regular citation. For example, you might write I.R.C. § 341 (1954). Enter a space between the Code number and the year in parentheses so that readers don't confuse the year with subparagraph numbers.

Code sections are divided into subsections, paragraphs, subparagraphs and clauses. For example, IRC §170(b)(1)(A)(i) is subdivided as follows: Code section in Arabic numbers, subsection with a lower case letter in parentheses, paragraph in Arabic numbers, subparagraph with a capital letter in parentheses, and clause with a lower case Roman numeral in parentheses, according to the IRS. Do not leave a space after the Code number before the subsection. The terminal period always goes after the final end parentheses.

About the Author

As curriculum developer and educator, Kristine Tucker has enjoyed the plethora of English assignments she's read (and graded!) over the years. Her experiences as vice-president of an energy consulting firm have given her the opportunity to explore business writing and HR. Tucker has a BA and holds Ohio teaching credentials.

Photo Credits
  • Digital Vision/Digital Vision/Getty Images