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Online · School of Business · Accounting, Economics, and Finance

Tax Research and Jurisprudence

  • CG
  • Section 8WK
  • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020
  • Modified 07/02/2020

Course Description

This innovative course seeks to equip the student with an in-depth understanding of the best tax research methods while providing the student with the opportunity to analyze the statutory and judicial doctrines that collectively give rise to the conceptual framework of tax law. The students will engage in tax research that will give them the opportunity to understand, analyze, and apply these familiar tax doctrines to a host of sophisticated and contemporary fact patterns.



ACCT 531 and ACCT 511 and (BMAL 590 or Meets BMAL590 / 27 hrs in BUSI with a score of 3)


The purpose of this course is to expose the student to the best tax research methods and to provide the student with the opportunity to implement those methods in sophisticated and contemporary research projects designed to provide the students with the opportunity to analyze the statutory and judicial doctrines that collectively give rise to the conceptual framework of tax law or jurisprudence. Through this innovative and unique course, the students will be armed with those theoretical and practical tax research skills and insights into tax jurisprudence that will enable them to successfully enter tax practice, or to enhance their already existing tax practice. These insights and skills include those necessary (1) to understand, retain, and apply tax law; (2) to more effectively identify the tax issues lurking in a given set of facts; and (3) to develop more creative and credible solutions to the problems or opportunities that these tax issues create.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

    1. Distinguish the importance of ethical imperatives and Biblical principles in the research and practice of taxation.
    2. Communicate the results of the tax research process using proper documentation.
    3. Examine the major legislative and judicial doctrines behind the conceptual framework of tax theory.
    4. Assess relevant tax scenarios for opportunities to reduce tax liability.
    5. Analyze the major components and structure of the Internal Revenue's audit process.
    6. Solve sophisticated and relevant tax research scenarios by utilizing electronic research services.

Course Resources

Required Resource Purchase

Gill, S., & Sawyers, R. B. (2018). Federal tax research (11th ed.). Mason, Ohio: Cengage. ISBN: 9781337282987.

Disclaimer: The above resource provides information consistent with the latest research regarding the subject area. Liberty University does not necessarily endorse specific personal, religious, philosophical, or political positions found in this resource.

Recommended Resource

American Psychological Association. Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (Current ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

Additional Materials for Learning

    1. Computer with basic audio/video output equipment
    2. Internet access (broadband recommended)
    3. Blackboard recommended browsers
    4. Microsoft Office
    5. The Holy Bible, available free of charge in numerous translations with study tools at
    6. Selected readings from various tax law resources.
    7. Access to the CCH Internet Tax Research Database.

Course Assignments

Textbook readings and presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (4)

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student will participate in 4 Discussion Board Forums in this course. The student will post a thread of 400–500 words with at least 4 citations and 2 replies of 200–250 words each to the threads of classmates. The student must include 2 citations with each reply and use current APA formatting for all citations.

Essays (2)

The student will complete 2 essays in this course. Each essay will be 2–3 pages and have the requested amount of citations. This assignment must be submitted through SafeAssign.

Tax Research Memos (4)

The student will complete 4 tax research memos in this course. As these are memos, and not formal writing assignments, current APA format is not required.

Tax Research Problems (2)

The student will complete 2 tax research problem assignments in this course. These are not formal writing assignments, so current APA formatting is not required.

Quizzes (4)

The student will complete 4 quizzes in this course. Each quiz will contain 25 multiple-choice and true/false questions based on the textbook readings and presentations and will have a time limit of 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Course Grading

Course Requirements Checklist

Discussion Board Forums (4 at 50 pts ea)



Essays (2 at 100 pts ea)


Tax Research Memos (4 at 75 pts ea)


Tax Research Problems (2 at 50 pts ea)


Quizzes (4 at 50 pts ea)




Course Policies

Quizzes/Tests/ExamsFor timed quizzes/tests/exams, the student is required to complete the quiz/test/exam within the assigned time. For the student who exceeds this time limit, a penalty of 1 point will be deducted for each minute, or part thereof, he/she exceeds the assigned time limit.


Late Assignment Policy

Course Assignments, including discussion boards, exams, and other graded assignments, should be submitted on time.

If the student is unable to complete an assignment on time, then he or she must contact the instructor immediately by email.

Assignments that are submitted after the due date without prior approval from the instructor will receive the following deductions:

  1. Late assignments submitted within one week after the due date will receive up to a 10% deduction.
  2. Assignments submitted more than one week and less than 2 weeks late will receive up to a 20% deduction.
  3. Assignments submitted two weeks late or after the final date of the course will not be accepted outside of special circumstances (e.g. death in the family, significant personal health issues), which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the instructor.
  4. Group projects, including group discussion board threads and/or replies, and assignments will not be accepted after the due date outside of special circumstances (e.g. death in the family, significant personal health issues), which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the instructor.

Disability Assistance

Students with a disability and those with medical conditions associated with pregnancy may contact Liberty University’s Online Office of Disability Accommodation Support (ODAS) at [email protected] for accommodations.  Such accommodations require appropriate documentation of your condition.   For more information about ODAS and the accommodations process, including how to request an accommodation, please visit Requests for accommodations not related to disabilities or pregnancy must be directed to the Registrar’s Office, which generally handles medical needs support.

If you have a complaint related to disability discrimination or an accommodation that was not provided, you may contact ODAS or the Office of Equity and Compliance by phone at (434) 592-4999 or by email at [email protected].  Click to see a full copy of Liberty’s Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct Policy or the Student Disability Grievance Policy and Procedures.

Course Attendance

In an effort to comply with U.S. Department of Education policies, attendance is measured by physical class attendance or any submission of a required assignment within the enrollment dates of the course (such as examinations, written papers or projects, any discussion board posts, etc.) or initiating any communication with one’s professor regarding an academic subject. More information regarding the attendance policy can be found in the Academic Course Catalogs. Regular attendance in online courses is expected throughout the length of the term. Students who do not attend within the first week of a sub-term by submitting a required academic assignment (such as the Course Requirements Checklist, an examination, written paper or project, discussion board post, or other academic activity) will be dropped from the course. Students who wish to re-engage in the course are encouraged to contact Academic Advising to discuss their enrollment options. Students who begin an online course, but at some point in the semester cease attending, and do not provide official notification to withdraw, will be assigned a grade of “FN” (Failure for Non-Attendance). Students wishing to withdraw from courses after the official start date should familiarize themselves with the withdrawal policy.

Grading Scale

A- B+ B B- C+ C C- D+ D D- F
940-1010 920-939 900-919 860-899 840-859 820-839 780-819 760-779 740-759 700-739 680-699 679 and below

For courses with a Pass/NP final grade, please refer to the Course Grading section of this syllabus for the assignment requirements and/or point value required to earn a Passing final grade.

Add/Drop Policy

The full policy statement and procedures are published in the Policy Directory.

Honor Code

Liberty University comprises a network of students, Alumni, faculty, staff and supporters that together form a Christian community based upon the truth of the Bible. This truth defines our foundational principles, from our Doctrinal Statement to the Code of Honor. These principles irrevocably align Liberty University’s operational procedures with the long tradition of university culture, which remains distinctively Christian, designed to preserve and advance truth. Our desire is to create a safe, comfortable environment within our community of learning, and we extend our academic and spiritual resources to all of our students with the goal of fostering academic maturity, spiritual growth and character development.

Communities are predicated on shared values and goals. The Code of Honor, an expression of the values from which our Doctrinal Statement was born, defines the fundamental principles by which our community exists. At the core of this code lie two essential concepts: a belief in the significance of all individuals, and a reliance on the existence of objective truth.

While we acknowledge that some may disagree with various elements of the Code of Honor, we maintain the expectation that our students will commit to respect and uphold the Code while enrolled at Liberty University.

Adherence to the principles and concepts established within facilitates the success of our students and strengthens the Liberty community.

The Code of Honor can be viewed in its entirety at


ACCT 612

Textbook: Sawyers et al., Federal Tax Research (2018).

Module/ Week

Reading & Study




Sawyers et al.: chs. 1, 11

1 presentation

2 videos

Course Requirement Checklist

Graduate Level Business Program Assessment

Class Introductions

Essay 1

Quiz 1








Sawyers et al.: chs. 2–4, 7

1 website

1 video

DB Forum 1

Tax Research Memo 1




Sawyers et al.: ch. 5

1 website

Tax Research Memo 2

Quiz 2




Sawyers et al.: ch. 6

DB Forum 2

Tax Research Problems 1




Sawyers et al.: ch. 9

1 website

DB Forum 3

Essay 2




Sawyers et al.: ch. 10

Tax Research Memo 3

Quiz 3




Sawyers et al.: ch. 12

1 video

DB Forum 4

Tax Research Problems 2




Sawyers et al.: chs. 13–14

1 presentation

1 website

Tax Research Memo 4

Quiz 4





DB = Discussion Board

NOTE: Modules/Weeks 1-7 begin on Monday and end at 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Sunday.

Module/Week eight begins on Monday and ends at 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Friday.