AuthorWilliam Kratzke
This book is a basic income tax text. I intend this text to be suitable for a three-hour
course for a class comprised of law students with widely different backgrounds.
Certain principles permeate all of tax law. I have found that certain axioms or
principles will carry us a long way. For example, income is taxed once or treated
as if it has been taxed. Once it has been taxed, its investment gives the taxpayer
basis which I define not as cost but as money that will not be subject to tax again.
Etc. The text returns to these principles throughout. I usually put these matters in
text boxes.
At a minimum, I want students who have completed basic income tax to know these
principles and to be able to apply them, i.e., to develop some “tax intuition.” This
intuition will serve well the student who wishes to take more tax classes. I tried to
identify what I want students to know before enrolling in corporate tax or
partnership tax and to make certain that I covered these principles in the basic
course. Such intuition will also serve well the student for whom the basic course is
a “one and done” experience. Like it or not, tax law affects most legal topics, and
such intuition should at least give students working in other areas of the law an idea
of when it is time to ask questions concerning lurking tax issues.
At the end of every chapter, I have included a short section entitled “What have you
learned?” This page may be examined before beginning the study of a chapter. I
intend it to be a statement of learning objectives: a student should have a solid
understanding of the items listed.
In some areas, I have relied heavily on the CALI drills by Professor James Edward
Maule (Villanova University). These drills both review and, in some instances,
teach a little substance. Each zeroes in on a specific topic and should take a student
about twenty minutes to complete if she has adequately prepared to do the drill. Of
course, students can work through such drills at their own speed. With the
assistance of CALI’s LessonLink, professors and students alike can monitor
students’ understanding of the discrete topics of these drills.
I have tried to make this text very readable so that students can easily understand.
I have aimed at law students who “know” they have no interest in income tax – but
who may find that they in fact have a considerable interest in tax law. With my

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