Play video

Welcome to Federal Income Tax

Federal income-tax law affects every person and institution in the United States. In this course, you'll learn the foundational concepts of federal income taxation, including income, exclusions, deductions, rules for property transactions, and timing.


Welcome to Basic Federal Income Tax! Designed for 2Ls and 3Ls, this course features 34 lesson videos divided into six chapters.

Chapter one introduces the broad contours of the federal income-tax system. We'll start by learning the main sources of federal income-tax law, including the United States Constitution, the Internal Revenue Code, and Treasury regulations. Then, we'll learn how to calculate an individual's income-tax liability, introducing key concepts as we go, and we'll discover how taxpayers use accounting periods to attribute income and expenditures to specific taxable years.

Chapter two explores the meaning of gross income. Here, we'll define gross income; study specific transactions giving rise to gross income, such as compensation for services and cancelled debt; and learn how to calculate gain and loss from property dealings.

Chapter three surveys important exclusions from gross income, emphasizing gifts, bequests, life-insurance proceeds, scholarships, fellowships, and damage awards for physical illness or injury.

Chapter four is all about deductions and losses. Here, we'll learn the crucial difference between deductible expenses and capital expenditures. We'll also survey important deductions like those for business, investment, medical, and educational expenses, as well as specified losses. We'll round out the chapter by exploring two critical error-correction doctrines, the tax-benefit rule and the claim-of-right doctrine.

In chapter five, we'll learn how to characterize gains and losses as ordinary, or as capital gains and losses. We'll get acquainted with the tax treatment of capital gains and losses, the requirements for capital gain or loss treatment, and the special rules under Section 1231 of the Internal Revenue Code. Finally, we'll learn how the depreciation-recapture rules sometimes treat what would normally be a capital gain as ordinary income.

Finally, chapter 6 explores the tax consequences of special property transactions, including involuntary conversions, like-kind exchanges, dispositions of encumbered property, and installment sales. The chapter also examines property transactions in the context of marriage, separation, and divorce.

If you watch all our lesson videos and try all our practice questions, you'll be primed to earn great marks on your tax exam. Let's get started.