This title utilizes the CasebookPlus™ platform. Learn more at

The Fourth Edition of Federal Income Tax: A Contemporary Approach continues its successful integration of several modern platforms to introduce students to the federal income taxation of individuals. It is a problem method casebook that teaches students how to read and apply statutes and regulations in real-world contexts. Many law students are becoming good readers of case law. Fewer are practicing the skills to become good readers of statutes and regulations. Yet statutes and regulations are the most important sources of primary authority for tax lawyers, ERISA lawyers, environmental lawyers, criminal lawyers, and others. This casebook aims to narrow the gap. As before, the book takes three passes through the system, each in increasing detail. The first pass, in two short chapters, introduces the basic structure of the federal income tax through the computation of taxable income. It lets students see the overall structure early in their study and gives context to new concepts as they are introduced. The second pass, consuming two larger chapters, walks through the concepts of gross income and deductions, respectively. The final pass, consuming seven chapters, then builds on the material from the first four chapters, considering exclusions, timing issues, characterization, property transactions, personal expenses, dual-use expenses, and tax shelters. The integration with electronic platforms allows for a quick transition from in-person to online instruction. The review questions at the end of every chapter allow students to independently check their understanding of the material. In addition to review questions, the text includes hundreds of self-assessment questions, and nearly 100 detailed problems for class discussion, all of which require students to apply Code and Regulation provisions to real-life fact patterns. The book also includes links to several instructional videos to reinforce student comprehension. Like other titles in the Interactive Casebook Series, the accompanying electronic version gives students immediate access to cited cases, statutes, and articles.

Imprint: West Academic Publishing
Series: Interactive Casebook Series
Publication Date: 01/16/2024

Samuel A. Donaldson, Georgia State University College of Law

Donald B. Tobin, University of Maryland School of Law

Rebecca N. Morrow, Wake Forest University School of Law


This title is available in our CasebookPlus format. CasebookPlus provides support beyond your classroom lectures and materials by offering additional digital resources to you and your students. Anchored by faculty-authored formative self-assessments keyed to our most popular casebooks, CasebookPlus allows students to test their understanding of core concepts as they are learning them in class – on their own, outside of the classroom, with no extra work on your part. CasebookPlus combines three important elements:

  • A new print or digital casebook
  • Access to a downloadable eBook with the ability to highlight and add notes
  • 12-month access to a digital Learning Library complete with:
Multiple-choice self-assessment questions, including:
  • Chapter questions keyed to the casebook
  • Black Letter Law questions (available in select subjects)
  • Subject area review questions for end of semester use
Essay and short answer questions with sample answers and expert commentary, in 1L and select upper-level subjects

Leading digital study aids, an outline starter, and audio lectures in select subjects

Students can still utilize CasebookPlus digital resources if they’ve purchased a used book or are renting their text by purchasing the Learning Library at

With CasebookPlus, you can customize your students’ learning experience and monitor their performance. The quiz editor allows you to create your own custom quiz set, suppress specific quiz questions or quiz sets, and time-release quiz questions. Additionally, the flexible, customized reporting capability helps you evaluate your students’ understanding of the material and can also help your school demonstrate compliance with the new ABA Assessment and Learning Outcomes standards.

  • Highlights ethical issues related to the work of tax lawyers to help courses contribute to meeting the amended ABA Standard 303 to “provide substantial opportunities to students for the development of a professional identity”
  • Provides direct instruction in statutory interpretation paired with questions to help students self-assess their statutory interpretation skills
  • Increases financial literacy on topics including restricted stock, types of loan forgiveness, trust basics, and bond pricing
  • Provides an early look at whether denying business deductions for marijuana sellers causes tax to be unconstitutionally imposed on something other than income
  • Celebrates tax law’s take down of Al Capone, including the roles of a bad lawyer turned good, his hero aviator son, and a witness-intimidating henchman

Learn more about this series.