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Peer Review

Identifying Tax Issues

by Ernest Larkins


Overall Numeric Rating:

5 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 5 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Jan 26, 2009 by Business Editorial Board
Overview: This tutorial covers how to conduct tax research. Its five lessons include: 1) Fact and Legal Issues, 2) Gross Income Issues, 3) Deduction Issues, 4) Property Transfer Issues, and 5) Additional Points. In addition, four self-tests provide for formative assessment. Two of the self-tests are multiple choice items, and two are fact scenarios that require essay responses. Included is a class assignment as well as links to other sited created by the author.
Type of Material: Tutorial with self-tests
Recommended Uses: Educational resources that can be incorporated into classroom use in form of lecture notes, exam review, open discussion, research, role-play, and mock trial assignments.
Technical Requirements: Browser.
Identify Major Learning Goals: This module provides accounting educators and tax students with a comprehensive tutorial on tax research issues that can be incorporated into their tax classes, to stimulate discussion, and to further research, as well as and the development of cognitive, research, and communication skills.
Target Student Population: Tax students in advanced or graduate level tax courses.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Basic understanding of tax, including tax research involving tax cases at all levels.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: Content is current, accurate, relevant, and informed by scholarship. Each lesson is comprised of 2-3 pages of text. The author demonstrates a pragmatic approach for conducting tax research and recognizing tax issues given some factual pattern, including federal tax cases from tax court to theU.S. Supreme Court. Concepts are integrated and summarized very nicely.
Concerns: None

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: If assigned near the beginning of an advanced tax course involving federal research, students should be more able to identify tax issues and better understand the nature of tax cases. Objectives have been included for each lesson. In addition successive lessons build on prior concepts. Good examples are provided as well as a series of self-tests. A scoring rubric has been included for the essay items.
Concerns: Weaker students may have to re-read lessons to perform well on the site-provided self-tests.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The tutorial is very user friendly, informative, entertaining, and visually appealing. One can navigate forwards from lesson to lesson or assessment as well as backwards to repeat lessons or assessments. The quiz questions can be viewed one at a time or all at once. Feedback is provided for each potential response. A cummulative score is provided.
Concerns: For the average student, the time commitment is significant to complete the lessons and the self-tests.

Other Issues and Comments: For teaching an advanced tax course including tax research involving tax cases, this site will be highly effective.