ACNT 1331 Master Syllabus

ACNT 1331, Section ___, ______ – FEDERAL INCOME TAX: INDIVIDUAL








BLACKBOARD COURSE WEBSITE: Can be accessed through homepage (lower right hand corner)

TEXTBOOK WEBSITE: Can be accessed through




OFFICE HOURS:               





CREDITS:  3; Lecture Hours: 3

COURSE LEVEL: Intermediate (Junior Level)

METHOD OF PRESENTATION: Three-hour lecture/discussion each week. 


PREREQUISITES: Before enrolling in ACNT 1331, you must have completed ACCT 2301 with a C or better grade. Basic computer skills utilizing internet, word processing, spreadsheet (Excel), and presentation (Power Point) software are recommended for all accounting courses. If you have any questions, consult with an accounting advisor.



Required:  Individual Income Taxes, 2008 Ed, Hoffman, Smith, and Willis, Thomson South-Western

Required:  Income Tax Fundamentals Supplement, 2007 Ed, Whittenburg, Altus-Buller, Thomson South-Western (this        book is a custom book and can only be purchased at an ACC bookstore)

Required:  Access to RIA Checkpoint,  TurboTax and Internet

Optional: Individual Income Taxes STUDY GUIDE, 2008 Ed, Hoffman, Smith, and Willis, Thomson South-Western


COMPUTER HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS: This course will utilize Blackboard. You must have access to a computer that has internet capabilities. You will also need to be able to access various internet web sites. You will also need to complete your homework using Microsoft Excel, Word, and RIA Tax Database.


COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course include basic instruction in the tax laws as currently implemented by the Internal Revenue Service, providing a working knowledge of preparing taxes for individuals. Emphasis on federal income tax law; individual income, exclusions, deductions, credits, gains, etc.; and incorporating these concepts into individual tax filing requirements.



  1. Identify the determinants of taxable income and the statutory exclusions that are permitted,
  2. Become familiar with the deduction component of the basic tax model,
  3. Learn various other components that relate to the theme of tax liability determination,
  4. Understand the purposes of the Federal tax law and the legislative, administrative, and judicial sources of Federal tax law, and
  5. Research and report on assigned tax questions.


COURSE RATIONALE: The goals and objectives of this course prepare students for (1) completing degree requirements; (2) obtaining or improving job skills; (3) qualifying for a business or accounting job; (4) working as an entrepreneur; (5) fulfilling personal goals; and/or (6) understanding individual income tax returns and the federal income tax law.


SCANS (SECRETARY’S COMMISSION ON ACHIEVING NECESSARY SKILLS): Please go to for complete definitions and explanation of SCANS.  This list summarizes the SCANS competencies addressed in this particular course.

  1. Organize Information: Organizes, processes, and maintains written or computerized records or other forms of information in a systematic fashion. Competently performing the tasks of organizing information includes understanding and organizing information from computer, visual, oral, and physical sources in readily accusable formats, such as computerized databases, spreadsheets, etc.

2.       Use Problem Solving Skills: Recognizes that a problem exists (i.e. there is a discrepancy between what is and what should or could be); identifies possible reason for the discrepancy, devises and implements a plan of action to resolve it; evaluates and monitors progress; revises plan as indicated based on findings.

3.       Apply Technology: Understands the overall intent and the proper procedures for setting up and operating machines, including computers and their programming systems. Demonstrating competence in how to apply technology to tasks includes understanding and using various software products (e.g. RIA tax service on the internet).



Austin Community College has received the designation of Qualifying Educational Credit for CPA Examination by the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy (Board).  This course qualifies as one of the 30 required upper-level accounting courses, however for this course to be counted, the student MUST have completed a bachelor's degree PRIOR to taking this course. If this course is completed before a bachelor's degree is awarded, the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy will not accept it.  Please review the information on our web site It is the responsibility of the student to understand and comply with the requirements of the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy.


To become a CPA in Texas, you must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree that includes 150 hours of college credit, 36 hours of accounting, 3 hour ethics course and 21 hours of business; pass a uniform exam; and have experience working with a CPA.


Pursuant to Rule §511.57(a)(1)(c) from the Texas Administrative Code, an individual completing accounting course requirements for the CPA exam shall have no more than 15 hours of online instruction. This limit applies only to the 30 upper level accounting hours.

It is very important that you enroll in the Professional Accountant - Advanced Technical Certificate and that you see an advisor at the start of your program. Please be aware of enforcement of prerequisites. If you do not have the necessary prerequisites for this course, I will withdraw you from the course.



Your grade will be based on the following:


Exams (3 @ 130 points each)

390 points

60.0 %

Chapter Discussion Questions, Problems, or Research Problems

100 points

15.4 %

On-line Chapter Quizzes (3)

70 points

10.8 %

Individual Tax Return Problems

90 points

13.8 %

Total Points

 650 points



GRADING SCALE:                                             90% - 100%         A

                                                                                                80% -  89%           B       

                                                                                                70% -  79%           C       

                                                                                                60% -  69%           D

                                                                                                Below 60%          F



WITHDRAWAL: from a course result in a grade of W and may be affected through action taken by the student, the course instructor, or the instructor’s immediate supervisor in the instructor’s absence. Students who wish to withdraw from specific courses should initiate withdrawal procedures with the Admissions and Records Office before the published deadline for withdrawals. Students who are not withdrawn as of the established deadline will receive a performance grade (A, B, C, D, or F). Students must present a picture ID to withdraw from the course.


Starting this fall, students attending Texas public colleges can withdraw from no more than six courses during their undergraduate career. The withdrawal limit applies to first-time college students and follows them until they graduate. Current and returning students are not affected.


INCOMPLETE:  an instructor may award a grade of I (incomplete) if a student was unable to complete all of the objectives for the passing grade in a course. An I cannot be carried beyond the established date in the following semester. The completion date is determined by the instructor buy may not be later than two weeks before the end of the semester. The department chair will approve a change from I to a performance grade (A, B, C, or D) for the course before deadline. Consideration should be given to course load, job, and family obligations when carrying an I into a new semester for completion. An I that is not resolved by the deadline will automatically be converted to an F.


ACADEMIC FREEDOM STATEMENT:  Each student is strongly encouraged to participate in class. In any classroom situation that includes discussion and critical thinking, there are bound to be many differing viewpoints. These differences enhance the learning experience and create an atmosphere where students and instructors alike will be encouraged to think and learn. On sensitive and volatile topics, students may sometimes disagree not only with each other but also with the instructor. It is expected that faculty and students will respect the views of others when expressed in classroom discussions. (See Student Handbook:


STUDENT DISCIPLINE: Classroom behavior should support and enhance learning. Behavior that disrupts the learning process will be dealt with appropriately, which may include having the student leave class for the rest of that day. In serious cases, disruptive behavior may lead to a student being withdrawn from the class. ACC's policy on student discipline can be found in the Student


SCHOLASTIC DISHONESTY: Acts prohibited by the college for which discipline may be administered include scholastic dishonesty, including but not limited to cheating on an exam or quiz, plagiarizing, unauthorized collaboration with another in preparing outside work. Academic work submitted by students shall be the result of their thought, research or self-expression. Academic work is defined as, but not limited to tests, quizzes, whether taken electronically or on paper; projects, either individual or group; classroom presentations, and homework. Electronic devices may not be used for exams unless specifically authorized by the instructor.  Penalties for scholastic dishonesty will depend upon the nature of the violation and may range from lowering a grade on one assignment to an F in the course and/or expulsion from this institution. See Student Handbook:


STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES STATEMENT: Each ACC campus offers support services for students with documented physical or psychological disabilities. Students with disabilities must request reasonable accommodations through the Office for Students with Disabilities on the campus where they expect to take the majority of their classes. Students are encouraged to make their requests three weeks before the start of the semester.  (See Student Handbook:


GRADE CHANGE POLICIES: Please see link provided for more information:


RULE OF THREE:  Per state law, effective spring 2006 any student taking a class for the third time or more may be charged an additional $60 per credit hour unless exempted. Please see link provided for more information:





BLACKBOARD: You will access some course content through Blackboard. If you have not previously taken a course utilizing Blackboard, you will find a link to the login procedures on the Blackboard login page: Otherwise, the login username and password you previously used will still work.


You must have an activated ACC eID number to log into blackboard. For information on how to activate your ACC eID please refer to


To use Blackboard, you do not have to have Internet access at home.  You can work with this system in our ACC open lab or at any LRS computer.


RIA CHECKPOINT SOFTWARE: We will be using RIA Checkpoint software substantially throughout this course. A complementary copy six months access to RIA’s Checkpoint Student Edition came with the purchase of your book. You may access this website by logging in to and entering the supplied user ID and password.


Austin Community College has also purchased a license to the RIA Checkpoint software. This is accessible through the library website at To access the software click on Find Articles and Research Information; the link is listed under the Business & Economics area.


TURBOTAX BUSINESS SOFTWARE: We will be using TurboTax Business software throughout this course. A complimentary copy of the software has been provided with the purchase of a new book.


HOMEWORK:  All students are expected to attend each class and to have their homework completed when assigned.  Your success depends on being prepared for and participating in each class session. Your success requires your careful attention to and use of the course outline and assignment sheet that accompanies this syllabus.  It is your guide through the material in your textbook.  Systematic preparation for each class is an absolute must for success.  This will require a minimum of 10 hours outside of class.  Please arrange your outside commitments and personal situation to allow yourself to devote the necessary time to be successful in this class.


You are in class approximately 3 hours a week: you can expect to work and additional 10 - 15 hours outside of class.


LATE HOMEWORK POLICY: Late work will NOT be accepted.


CHAPTER QUIZZES:  After completion of each  chapter, a quiz will be given utilizing blackboard. These quizzes will be completed outside of class. You may use your notes and book to complete the quiz. You will have until the night of the exam to complete the quizzes. No late quizzes will be accepted. These quizzes will be an excellent review for the exam and should be used as a study guide.


EXAMS:  All exams will be completed in the testing center. You must select a testing center to take all of your exams at. If you are unable to complete the exam during the exam testing days, you must notify the instructor before the last open exam date. Failure to notify the instructor will result in a zero (“0”). The selection of your testing site will be completed during the online orientation. Please review the student guidelines on the testing center website prior to taking your first exam.


COURSE PROCEDURES: All course material will be presented online with the exceptions of the exams. All exams will be completed in the testing center.


For each chapter I will assign a variety of discussion questions, exercises, online research and quizzes. The purpose of these assignments is to increase your understanding and retention of the tax topics. A good faith effort to master the materials early in the course should pay substantial dividends later in the course.


For most of the discussion questions, I recommend you attempt to answer them with minimal reference to the text. Exercises are intended to reinforce your comprehension through hands-on experiences. Some of these assignments will require the use of the RIA Checkpoint tax service.


You can expect to work 10 - 15 hours on this class per week.


LEARNING SUPPORT: If you are having difficulties with the material, need help, or want reinforcement, please talk to me right away. There are many resources available to you if you are having trouble with the course or want to reinforce the information that you learn from the text and class.


Materials/support include:

v  Book companion site:

v  The computer lab in the library or any of the other open computer labs is also available for your use.




Appendix 1A


Chapter 1

Understand some of the history and trends of the Federal income tax.

Know some of the criteria for selecting a tax structure; understand the components of a tax structure.

Identify the different taxes imposed in the United States at the Federal, state, and local levels.

Understand the administration of the tax law, including the audit process utilized by the IRS.

Appreciate some of the ethical guidelines involved in tax practice.

Recognize the economic, social, equity, and political considerations that justify various aspects of the tax law.

Describe the role played by the IRS and the courts in the evolution of the Federal tax system.

Chapter 2

Distinguish between the statutory, administrative, and judicial sources of the tax law and understand the purpose of each source.

Locate and work with the appropriate tax law sources.

Understand the tax research process.

Communicate the results of the tax research process in a client letter and a tax file memorandum.

Apply the tax research techniques and planning procedures.

Have an awareness of electronic tax research.

Chapter 3

Understand and apply the components of the Federal income tax formula.

Apply the rules for arriving at personal and dependency exemptions.

Use the proper method for determining the tax liability.

Identify and work with kiddie tax situations.

Recognize the filing requirements and the proper filing status.

Process an overview of property transactions.

Identify tax planning opportunities associated with the individual tax formula.

Chapter 4

Explain the concepts of gross income and realization and distinguish between the economic, accounting, and tax concepts of gross income.

Describe the cash and accrual methods of accounting and the related effects of the choice of taxable year.

Identify who should pay the tax on a particular item of income in various situations.

Apply the Internal Revenue Code provisions on alimony, loans made at below-market interest rates, annuities, prizes and awards, group term life insurance, unemployment compensation, and Social Security benefits.

Identify tax-planning strategies for minimizing gross income.

Chapter 5

Understand that statutory authority is required to exclude an item from gross income.

Identify the circumstances under which various items are excludible from gross income.

Determine the extent to which receipts can be excluded under the tax benefit rule.

Describe the circumstances under which income must be reported from the discharge of indebtedness.

Identify tax-planning strategies for obtaining the maximum benefit from allowable exclusions.

Chapter 6

Differentiate between deductions for and from adjusted gross income and understand the relevance of the differentiation.

Describe the cash and accrual methods of accounting.

Apply the Internal Revenue Code deduction disallowance provisions associated with the following: public policy limitations, political activities, excessive executive compensation, investigation of business opportunities, hobby losses, vacation home rentals, payment of others’ expenses, personal expenditures, capital expenditures, related-party transactions, and expenses related to tax-exempt income.

Identify tax-planning opportunities for maximizing deductions and minimizing the disallowance of deductions.

Chapter 7

Determine the amount, classification, and timing of the bad debt deduction.

Understand the tax treatment of worthless securities including §1244 stock.

Distinguish between deductible and nondeductible losses of individuals.

Identify a casualty and determine the amount, classification, and timing of casualty and theft losses.

Recognize and apply the alternative tax treatments for research and experimental expenditures.

Determine the amount of the net operating loss and recognize the impact of the carryback and carryover provisions.

Identify tax-planning opportunities in deducting certain business expenses, business losses, and personal losses.

Chapter 8

Understand the rationale for the cost consumption concept and identify the relevant time periods for depreciation, ACRS, and MACRS.

Determine the amount of cost recovery under ACRS and MACRS.

Recognize when and how to make the § 179 expensing election, calculate the amount of the deduction, and apply the effect of the election in making the MACRS calculation.

Identify listed property and apply the deduction limitations on listed property and luxury automobiles.

Determine when and how to use the alternative depreciation system (ADS).

Identify intangible assets that are eligible for amortization and calculate the amount of the deduction.

Determine the amount of depletion expense including being able to apply the alternative tax treatments for intangible drilling and development costs.

Perform the reporting procedures for cost recovery.

Identify tax-planning opportunities for cost recovery, amortization, and depletion.

Chapter 9

Distinguish between employee and self-employed status.

Recognize deductible transportation expenses.

Know how travel expenses are treated.

Determine the moving expense deduction.

Differentiate between deductible and nondeductible education expenses.

Understand how entertainment expenses are treated.

Identify other employee expenses.

Appreciate the difference between accountable and nonaccountable employee plans.

Work with the limitations on miscellaneous itemized deductions.

Develop tax-planning ideas related to employee business expenses.

Chapter 10

Distinguish between deductible and nondeductible personal expenses.

Define medical expenses and compute the medical expense deduction.

Contrast deductible taxes and nondeductible fees, licenses, ect.

Understand the Federal tax treatment of state and local income taxes.

Distinguish between deductible and nondeductible interest and apply the appropriate limitations to deductible interest.

Understand charitable contributions and their related measurement problems and percentage limitations.

List the business and personal expenditures that are deductible either as miscellaneous itemized deductions or as other itemized deductions.

Recognize the limitation on certain itemized deductions applicable to high-income taxpayers.

Identify tax-planning procedures that can maximize the benefit of itemized deductions.

Chapter 11 (optional coverage)

Discuss tax shelters and the reason for at-risk and passive loss limitations.

Explain the at-risk limitation.

Describe how passive loss rules limit deductions for losses, and identify the taxpayers subject to those restrictions.

Discuss the definition of passive activities and the rules for identifying an activity.

Analyze and apply the tests for material participation.

Understand the nature of rental activities under the passive loss rules.

Recognize the relationship between the at-risk and passive activity limitations.

Discuss the special treatment available to real estate activities.

Determine the proper tax treatment upon the disposition of a passive activity.

Suggest tax-planning strategies to minimize the effect of the passive loss limitations.

Chapter 12

Explain the rationale for the alternative minimum tax (AMT).

Understand the formula for computing the AMT for individuals.

Identify the adjustments made in calculating the AMT.

Identify the tax preferences that are included in calculating the AMT.

Apply the formula for computing the AMT and illustrate Form 6251.

Describe the role of the AMT credit in the alternative minimum tax structure.

Understand the basic feature of the corporate AMT.

Identify tax-planning opportunities to minimize the AMT.

Chapter 13

Explain how tax credits are used as a tool of Federal tax policy.

Distinguish between refundable and nonrefundable credits and understand the order in which they can be used by taxpayers.

Describe various business-related tax credits.

Describe various tax credits that are available primarily to individual taxpayers.

Understand the tax withholding and payment procedures applicable to employers.

Understand the payment procedures applicable to self-employed persons.

Identify tax planning opportunities related to tax credits and payment procedures.

Chapter 14

Understand the computation of realized gain or loss on property dispositions.

Distinguish between realized and recognized gain or loss.

Apply the recovery of capital doctrine.

Explain how basis is determined for various methods of asset acquisition.

Describe various loss disallowance provisions.

Identify tax-planning opportunities related to selected property transactions.

Chapter 15

Understand the rationale for nonrecognition (postponement) of gain or loss in certain property transactions.

Apply the nonrecognition provisions and basis determination rules for like-kind exchanges.

Explain the nonrecognition provisions available on the involuntary conversion of property.

Describe the provision for the permanent exclusion of gain on the sale of a personal residence.

Identify other nonrecognition provisions contained in the Code.

Identify tax-planning opportunities related to the nonrecognition provisions discussed in the chapter.

Chapter 16

Understand the rationale for separate reporting of capital gains and losses.

Distinguish capital assets from ordinary assets.

Understand the relevance of a sale or exchange to classification as a capital gain or loss and apply the special rules for the capital gain or loss treatment of the retirement or corporate obligations, options, patents, franchises, and lease cancellation payments.

Determine whether the holding period for a capital asset is long term or short term.

Describe the beneficial tax treatment for capital gains and the detrimental tax treatment for capital losses for noncorporate taxpayers.

Describe the tax treatment for capital gains and the detrimental tax treatment for capital losses for corporate taxpayers.

Identify tax-planning opportunities arising from the sale or exchange of capital assets.

Chapter 17

Understand the rationale for and the nature and treatment of gains and losses from the disposition of business assets.

Distinguish § 1231 assets from ordinary assets and capital assets and calculate the § 1231 gain or loss.

Determine when § 1245 recapture applies and how it is computed.

Determine when § 1250 recapture applies and how it is computed.

Understand considerations common to §§ 1245 and 1250.

Apply the special recapture provisions for related parties and IDC and be aware of the special recapture provision for corporations.

Describe and apply the reporting procedures for §§ 1231, 1245, and 1250.

Identify tax-planning opportunities associated with §§ 1231, 1245, and 1250.