The IRS on-line tutorial for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance is now available here. It covers the same material that you'll find in Pub 4491, but the computerized version is multimedia and interactive, and allows you to quickly quiz yourself on the basics and get prompt feedback, one question at a time. (For my public finance students who suffered through the often-glitchy Gruber public finance textbook self-quizzes last fall, I think you'll find the IRS Link and Learn self-quizzes a huge improvement over Gruber's interface!)
I'll highlight some particularly tricky common issues and post commentaries in a series of posts to this blog. Hopefully this will help readers in general--as well as my students--check their mastery of tax law.
You can think of this as a quiz game--"Who wants to be a basic tax law expert?" Not everybody wants or needs to be a millionaire, but everyone really does need to develop some expertise in basic tax law.
The essential reference resource to use when answering the quiz questions is Pub 4012, the Volunteer Resource Guide. I have annotated a PDF of Pub 4012 with highlighting and my comments and buffalo stamps for especially tricky tax issues. You can find my annotated version of Pub 4012 here.