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How to Cite IRS Tax Forms in a Bibliography


While the typical collegiate research paper will not require you to cite Internal Revenue Service, or IRS, forms, one might be called upon to cite such forms when writing about a specific case, such as in a political science class or in business writing. Since the citation might refer to either a printed document or an online version, it is important to indicate which is being used.

IRS Forms in MLA Format

When writing in the humanities, the bibliography is called the Works Cited page, according to the seventh edition of the Modern Language Association Handbook. A Works Cited entry for an online publication of a government document begins by listing the government, followed by the department, and then the agency. Next, the citation should include the document title (in quotation marks), website title (in italics), publisher, date of publication, medium, and date of access. If the document is in print, one would omit the website name and end the entry with the medium.

For example: United States. Department of the Treasury. Internal Revenue Service. “Form 4506.” Forms and Publications (italics). Department of the Treasury, Jan. 2012. Web. 22 July 2013.

IRS Forms in APA Format
Format citations of IRS forms according to the required documentation style.

Writing in the social sciences would include a References page as the bibliography. Additionally, this format is often used when creating a formal report in a business writing class. According to the sixth edition of the American Psychological Association Handbook, the References page entry would begin with the department and agency (as the author), followed by the date of publication (in parentheses), the document title (in italics), and one of the following: the city, state, and office of publication (if a print document), or “Retrieved from” and the URL (if online).

For example: Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service. (2012, January). Form 4506 (italics). Retrieved from http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f4506.pdf

IRS Forms in Chicago Manual Style

Most history courses, as well as some political sciences and philosophy courses, use Chicago Manual Style, or CMS. As explained by the CMS sixteenth edition, an online government document should be listed in the footnotes, as such:

  1. U.S. Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, Form 4506, (Washington, DC: 2012), http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f4506.pdf.

IRS Forms in the Council of Science Editors
Even in the sciences, one may need to cite IRS forms on a bibliography page.

While an IRS form is unlikely to be used in a paper written in the sciences, it is not an impossibility. If one needed to include such a citation on the bibliography page -- with the heading Cited References -- it would be formatted as in the following example:

  1. Department of the Treasury (US). Form 4506 [Internet]. Internal Revenue Service (US); 2012 Jan. Available from: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f4506.pdf

About the Author

Jade Lynch-Greenberg is a writer, blogging enthusiast and educator. She teaches multi-modal writing in the university setting and has written for the web since 2002, and created comics since 2006. She write scripts, articles, scholarly documents and technical explanations, and holds a Master of Arts in English from Purdue University.

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