Austin Community College Logo


Section 001, 33060

Term:  Fall 2011





Instructor: Tracie Nobles, CPA (CO), Associate Professor


Instructor Website:

Work Phone: 223-0182

Office Location: Round Rock, 2232.20

Office Hours:     Monday, 9:30 am – 10:30 am, 12 noon – 4 pm

                Wednesday, 9:30 am – 10:30 am, 1 pm – 4 pm

                Thursday, 3 pm – 7 pm

                                Or, By Appointment

Arranging Conference/Appointments: Please email the instructor to arrange conferences/appointments.

Course Dates and Times:  Online

Course Location:  Online

Credits:  3


Prerequisites: Before enrolling in ACNT 1393, you must have completed ACNT 1331 (Individual Income Tax) AND ACNT 1347 (Taxation for Partnerships and Corporations) or a tax course that provides knowledge of both entity and individual taxation with a C or better grade. Basic computer skills utilizing internet, word processing, and spreadsheet (Excel) software are recommended for all accounting courses. If you have any questions, consult with an accounting advisor.


Required Textbook/Materials:

1. Contemporary Tax Practice: Research, Planning, and Strategies, 2nd edition, John O. Everett, Cherie Henning, and Nancy Nichols, Publisher: CCH, ISBN: 978-0-8080-2379-1.

Computer hardware and software requirements: This course will utilize Blackboard. This course requires that you have high-speed internet access. You must be able to view audio and video files in flash. Your computer will need to have a sound-card or speakers. You must have access to Excel and word processing (save documents as doc, docx, pdf, xls, xlsx, or rtf files).  You will also need to access the CCH Tax Database and/or RIA Tax Database. You will be provided with an access code to the database via your ACC gmail account.

If you do not have a dependable computer or access to Microsoft Office, you can work at any ACC Library computer lab.  It is critical that you log into Blackboard site at least 2 times per week.  If you cannot make this type of commitment, this is not the right course for you.

Course Description: A course in development of effective and efficient, 'hands-on' tax research skills, using the CCH Tax Database and/or RIA Tax Database.  The course is a continuation of the fundamentals of Federal income tax law.  Objectives include identifying tax issues and locating, understanding, analyzing, and evaluating authoritative and nonauthoritative tax sources and communicating the results in an efficient and understandable manner.


Course Objectives and Outcomes:

  1. Understand the tax research environment,
  2. Become familiar with the primary sources of federal tax law,
  3. Understand the various research tools, and
  4. Know how to implement the research tools.


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).


Texas State Board of Public Accountancy: 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 and counts towards the research requirement. In order 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.


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:



30 %


20 %

Major Writing Assignments

Deloitte Case Study

Scholarly Journals Review

Case Brief

Memo to File

Letter to Client

30 %


20 %


100 %


GRADING SCALE:                                             90% - 100%         A

                                                                                                80% -  89%           B       

                                                                                                70% -  79%           C       

                                                                                                60% -  69%           D

                                                                                                Below 60%          F

How to calculate your grade:

In a simple weighted scheme here is how Blackboard would calculate weighted grades:


For Student A, in a course in which there are four categories with the following point totals and weights:

Total Points

Earned Points by Student A

Percentage of Grade


25 points

22 points



40 points

37 points


Writing Assignments

25 points

22 points



60 points

58 points


Total Possible Points

150 points

139 points



Blackboard’s formula for calculating the Weighted Total is as follows:


[(Earned points on item1/total points possible for item1) X (weight of item1)]+ [(Earned points on item2/total points possible for item2) X (weight of item2)] + [(Earned points on item3/total points possible for item3) X (weight of item3)] + [(Earned points on item4/total points possible for item4) X (weight of item4)]


= ((22/25)*.20) + ((37/40)*.30) + ((22/25)*.30) + ((58/60)*.20) =.9105 or 91.05%



Blackboard: You will access all 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 in this course. Austin Community College has 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.


H&R Block Tax Cut: We will be using H&R Block Tax Cut software throughout this course. This software comes free with the purchase of a new book. If you do not have this software, you can complete the tax returns by hand and submit electronically.


Homework:  All students are expected to complete homework when assigned.  Please arrange your outside commitments and personal situation to allow yourself to devote the necessary time to be successful in this class.


Aplia: Homework will be completed using Aplia. More information will be provided in the blackboard course.


Chapter Quizzes:  Quizzes will be given in blackboard. You may use your notes and book to complete the quiz. No late quizzes will be accepted.


Exams:   Exam 2 will be completed in the testing center; Exam 1 & 3 will be completed in the classroom. Testing Center exams will be administered using an online program called Respondus. This program can only be administered at secure testing locations. You must test at any of the following eight testing center locations: Northridge, Cypress Creek, Eastview, Pinnacle, Riverside, Rio Grande, Round Rock, and South Austin.


Make up exams will not be given. If you do not complete an exam by the required date, your grade for that exam will be a zero (“0”).


Please review the student guidelines on the testing center website prior to taking your first exam.


Course Procedures:  This course includes a lecture component. Material will be presented in the classroom and additional material and assignments will be presented online. For each chapter, I will assign a variety of assignments. 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.


Deadlines: Odd things happen in cyberspace—emails get lost, servers disconnect temporarily, and logins fail.  Do not wait until the last minute to do your work.  Allow time to meet deadlines.  Reply and check for replies on every e-mail sent and received.  You are responsible for getting the work in on time.  Please notify me – ahead of time, if possible – of any extenuating circumstances that will prevent you from participating in discussions or turning work in on time.


Where to go if you have questions: If you have a question that you would like to discuss with me, my preferred contact method is email.


If you would like to contact me in person you do not need an appointment to come to my office during office hours. Please feel free to call or drop by anytime during my office hours. If I am involved in another matter, I will appreciate your understanding in setting up an appointment for a more convenient time.


If you contact me via email, you will receive a reply from me within 48 hours (during the weekdays) and by Tuesday at 5:00 pm (for questions posed on the weekend). I usually do not answer email questions over the weekend.


Where to go if you have complaints: You may review the complaint and grievance policy online: Please attempt to resolve the complaint immediately with me directly. If the complaint cannot be resolved, then my immediate supervisor is Dr. Reed Peoples.



Attendance/Class Participation: Regular and punctual class and laboratory attendance is expected of all students.  If attendance or compliance with other course policies is unsatisfactory, the instructor may withdraw students from the class.


Withdrawal Policy: It is the responsibility of each student to ensure that his or her name is removed from the roll should he or she decide to withdraw from the class.  The instructor does, however, reserve the right to drop a student should he or she feel it is necessary.  If a student decides to withdraw, he or she should also verify that the withdrawal is submitted before the Final Withdrawal Date.  The student is also strongly encouraged to retain their copy of the withdrawal form for their records.

Students who enroll for the third or subsequent time in a course taken since Fall, 2002, may be charged a higher tuition rate, for that course.

State law permits students to withdraw from no more than six courses during their entire undergraduate career at Texas public colleges or universities.  With certain exceptions, all course withdrawals automatically count towards this limit.  Details regarding this policy can be found in the ACC college catalog.

___________ is the last day to withdraw from this class and receive a grade of “W”.  If you wish to withdraw, it is your responsibility to do so.  DO NOT ASSUME THAT I WILL WITHDRAW YOU. I have no obligation to do so.


Late Homework/Quizzes Policy: Late work will NOT be accepted.

Incompletes: 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 incomplete grade cannot be carried beyond the established date in the following semester. The completion date is determined by the instructor but may not be later than the final deadline for withdrawal in the subsequent semester.


Statement on Scholastic Dishonesty: A student attending ACC assumes responsibility for conduct compatible with the mission of the college as an educational institution.  Students have the responsibility to submit coursework that is the result of their own thought, research, or self-expression.  Students must follow all instructions given by faculty or designated college representatives when taking examinations, placement assessments, tests, quizzes, and evaluations.  Actions constituting scholastic dishonesty include, but are not limited to, plagiarism, cheating, fabrication, collusion, and falsifying documents.    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 the college.  See the Student Standards of Conduct and Disciplinary Process and other policies at
Student Rights and Responsibilities: Students at the college have the rights accorded by the U.S. Constitution to freedom of speech, peaceful assembly, petition, and association. These rights carry with them the responsibility to accord the same rights to others in the college community and not to interfere with or disrupt the educational process. Opportunity for students to examine and question pertinent data and assumptions of a given discipline, guided by the evidence of scholarly research, is appropriate in a learning environment. This concept is accompanied by an equally demanding concept of responsibility on the part of the student. As willing partners in learning, students must comply with college rules and procedures.
Statement on Students with Disabilities: Each ACC campus offers support services for students with documented disabilities.  Students with disabilities who need classroom, academic or other accommodations must request them through the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD).   Students are encouraged to request accommodations when they register for courses or at least three weeks before the start of the semester, otherwise the provision of accommodations may be delayed.   

Students who have received approval for accommodations from OSD for this course must provide the instructor with the ‘Notice of Approved Accommodations’ from OSD before accommodations will be provided.   Arrangements for academic accommodations can only be made after the instructor receives the ‘Notice of Approved Accommodations’ from the student.  

Students with approved accommodations are encouraged to submit the ‘Notice of Approved Accommodations’ to the instructor at the beginning of the semester because a reasonable amount of time may be needed to prepare and arrange for the accommodations.   

Additional information about the Office for Students with Disabilities is available at


Safety Statement: Austin Community College is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for study and work. You are expected to learn and comply with ACC environmental, health and safety procedures and agree to follow ACC safety policies. Additional information on these can be found at Because some health and safety circumstances are beyond our control, we ask that you become familiar with the Emergency Procedures poster and Campus Safety Plan map in each classroom. Additional information about emergency procedures and how to sign up for ACC Emergency Alerts to be notified in the event of a serious emergency can be found at

Please note, you are expected to conduct yourself professionally with respect and courtesy to all. Anyone who thoughtlessly or intentionally jeopardizes the health or safety of another individual will be dismissed from the day’s activity, may be withdrawn from the class, and/or barred from attending future activities.

You are expected to conduct yourself professionally with respect and courtesy to all. Anyone who thoughtlessly or intentionally jeopardizes the health or safety of another individual will be immediately dismissed from the day’s activity, may be withdrawn from the class, and/or barred from attending future activities.


Use of ACC email: All College e-mail communication to students will be sent solely to the student’s ACCmail account, with the expectation that such communications will be read in a timely fashion. ACC will send important information and will notify you of any college related emergencies using this account.  Students should only expect to receive email communication from their instructor using this account.  Likewise, students should use their ACCmail account when communicating with instructors and staff.  Instructions for activating an ACCmail account can be found at


Testing Center Policy: Under certain circumstances, an instructor may have students take an examination in a testing center.  Students using the Academic Testing Center must govern themselves according to the Student Guide for Use of ACC Testing Centers and should read the entire guide before going to take the exam.  To request an exam, one must have:


Do NOT bring cell phones to the Testing Center.  Having your cell phone in the testing room, regardless of whether it is on or off, will revoke your testing privileges for the remainder of the semester.  ACC Testing Center policies can be found at


Student And Instructional Services: ACC strives to provide exemplary support to its students and offers a broad variety of opportunities and services.  Information on these services and support systems is available at:

Links to many student services and other information can be found at:

ACC Learning Labs provide free tutoring services to all ACC students currently enrolled in the course to be tutored.  The tutor schedule for each Learning Lab may be found at:

For help setting up your ACCeID, ACC Gmail, or ACC Blackboard, see a Learning Lab Technician at any ACC Learning Lab.


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:


Plagiarism: Plagiarism is taken very seriously in this class. Plagiarism is considered to be copying of another’s work including another students, internet, or research source. Any phrase, sentence, paragraph, etc. that is take from another’s work must be cited appropriately. All written assignments submitted in this course are run through a comprehensive plagiarism checker. The first instance of plagiarism will result in a required student/faculty meeting and a grade of zero on that assignment. The second instance of plagiarism will result in a referral to the college dean of student services and a grade of F in the course.







Assignments to Complete *

Due Date (CST)

UNIT 1 – Introduction


Orientation Quiz (Q)


Introduction to Tax Research & Writing

Tax Research – The Foundation Every Tax Professional Builds On Dbrief (H)

Effective Writing – What, When, and How to Say It Electronically Dbrief (H)


Introduction to Library Resources

Know How Research Skills: Plagiarism & Citing Skills (H)

Know How Research Skills:

Finding Periodical Articles (H)


Scholarly Journal Paper

Scholarly Journal Paper (W)


UNIT 2 – Tax Research

Chapter 4: Tax Research – Locating and Assessing Tax Authority


Review Questions for Chapter 4

Scavenger Hunt (H)

Primary vs. Secondary Source (H)

The Tax Legislative Process – A Little Knowledge Goes a Long Way Dbrief (H)

Chapter 4 Quiz (Q)


Chapter 1: Legislative Sources of Authority

Review Questions for Chapter 1

Types of Tax Authority (H)

Codification (H)

Chapter 1 Quiz (Q)

Assign Deloitte Case Study – See dues dates below


Chapter 2: Administrative Sources of Authority

Review Questions for Chapter 2

Locating Revenue Procedure, TAM, & PLR (H)

Authority & Locating

of IRS Publications (H)

Chapter 2 Quiz (Q)


Chapter 3: Judicial Sources of Authority

Review Questions for Chapter 3

Citations (H)

Case Brief (W)

Chapter 3 Quiz (Q)



Exam – Chapters 1 – 4 (E)


Deloitte Case Study – Continuing Problem (W)


UNIT 3 – Tax Practice

Chapter 9: Tax Practice – Procedures, Administration and Sanctions

Review Questions for Chapter 9

Violations of Circular 230 (H)


Chpt 9 Quiz (Q)


Chapter 10: Tax Communications Between the Client, Tax Preparer and the IRS

Review Questions for Chapter 10

Memo to File (W)

Chpt 10 Quiz (Q)


Exam – Chapters 9 – 10 (E)



UNIT 4 – Tax Planning

Chapter 11: Tax Planning for Individuals

Review Questions for Chapter 11

Alternative Minimum Tax – The Least Understood Issue in Individual Taxation Today Dbrief (H)

Letter to Sophisticated Client (W)

Chpt 11 Quiz (Q)


Chapter 15: Business Planning – Choice of Entity

Review Questions for Chapter 15

The Art and Science of Entity Choices Dbrief (H)

Chpt 15 Quiz (Q)


Deloitte Case Study – Continuing Problem (W)



                Grading Categories:

                H – Homework (20%)

                Q – Quizzes (20%)

                E – Exams (30%)

                W – Major Writing Assignments (30%)