In a recent article, Robert W. Wood writes the shocking trend of taxpayers following IRS instructions and publications when filing taxes, only to discover that these instructions are not actually an official part of tax law. The article begins as follows:

If the IRS gives you instructions how to complete a tax form, you can rely on them, right? You would think so. Yet, instructions are not actually part of the tax law. In fact, there are many tax cases in which well-meaning taxpayers claim their tax position is justified by IRS instructions or publications. In most instances, taxpayers lose, even if they have a credible reading.

Call it the ultimate Catch-22. A long line of cases says the only authoritative sources of tax law are official statutes, regulations, and judicial decisions. Does this impressive weight of authority mean taxpayers can never cite form instructions? As is so common with blanket statements in our Byzantine tax system, not always. That is important if you are a confused but well-meaning taxpayer. First, let’s see what you are up against.

Read the full article from Forbes here.

Posted by Logan Davis, Associate Editor, Wealth Strategies Journal.