Tax Analysts is a nonprofit publisher offering the Tax Notes portfolio of products, including weekly magazines featuring commentary, daily online journals featuring news and analysis, and research tools, all focused on tax policy and administration. Tax Analysts also promotes transparency in tax policymaking and holds regular conferences on key tax issues.
Thomas F. Field founded Tax Analysts in 1970 as part of an effort to expose tax policymaking to the general public at a time when it was being heavily influenced by special interests. The organization provided analysis on prominent policy debates, offered congressional testimony on proposed legislation and published op-eds that could reach a broader audience. But within 10 years, the group had shifted focus and become the country's foremost provider of unbiased tax information with a style that has since come to be regarded by tax professionals as "the epitome of hard-nosed impartiality."
The organization underwent a restructuring at the end of 2001 as it sought to deal with globalization, technological advances, and increased competition in the tax publishing arena. In 2004, Field retired from Tax Analysts and was succeeded by Christopher Bergin, who had until then been the editor of Tax Notes, the organization's flagship publication.
Cara Griffith succeeded Bergin as CEO in August 2017. The organization currently has 173 employees, most of whom are based out of its Falls Church, Virginia, headquarters, as well as a network of more than 250 domestic and international tax correspondents.
Since its inception, the organization has grown dramatically in size and scope, moving from a relatively small nonprofit to a publisher with correspondents across the country and around the globe providing information to more than 150,000 readers worldwide.
To shed light on tax policy and administration through aggressive, unbiased reporting and informed commentary from the leaders in the field.
The organization publishes:
The organization also produces several research tools and reference sources, including:
Tax Analysts has devoted extensive time and effort to ensure public access to key documents in tax policy and administration. When necessary, it has sued the IRS for access to documents through which the agency provides guidance to its staff and individual taxpayers. Using the Freedom of Information Act, Tax Analysts fought for access to key documents in tax policy and administration. In 1972, the organization successfully sued the IRS for access to private letter rulings (PLRs) and technical advice memorandums (TAMs) — crucial guidance documents that provided legal advice to specific taxpayers and IRS field agents.
Over the years, those had become sort of "secret laws" whereby the IRS decided how to apply the law to particular taxpayers and then refused to make the terms public. This practice left other taxpayers at a disadvantage, since the IRS relied on existing secret guidance when deciding subsequent cases. At the same time, it gave an unfair advantage to a few large law and accounting firms that had joined forces to create a private library of these undisclosed materials.
The courts gave Tax Analysts access to PLRs, and Congress soon required public disclosure of TAMs as well. Those were the foundation for almost 40 years of subsequent litigation by the firm to defend disclosure and tax transparency. The organization continues to work for transparency in the administration of tax law and recently forced the IRS to disclose guidance being sent to its field agents via email.
The organization hosts policy forums and roundtable discussions to examine issues in federal, state, and international taxation.
In 1995 Tax Analysts created the Tax History Project to provide information about the history of American taxation to scholars, policymakers, students, citizens, and the media. The project provides access to web-based documentary publications, original historical research, tax returns filed by U.S. presidents and presidential candidates, and other archival data.
Joseph J. Thorndike is the director of the project.