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Tax code tournament brackets

I am not a basketball fan, pro or college, so I just muddle through NCAA March Madness, flipping around to channels showing late-season hockey matches and Major League Baseball spring training games.

But Robert G. Nassau has come up with a way that even I can enjoy all this talk of hoops and brackets (not to be confused with chutes and ladders; told ya, not a fan).

Nassau, director of the Syracuse University College of Law Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic and a professor of practice at the college, has selected 64 (no play-in games in his competition!) of the "finest, taxpayer-friendly sections" of the Internal Revenue Code.

These tax laws are pitted against one another to determine the code’s "most useful" section with, notes Nassau, the occasional upset or two along the way.

The tax bracketology exercise and methodology for filling in the grid is published in this week's Tax Notes from Tax Analysts with the apt title, despite the calendar, of April Madness (article access courtesy of TaxProf Blog). 

Tax code brackets March Tax Madness 2011
As you can see, Nassau's tax playoff schematic looks just like its more famous college basketball playoff inspiration. You can get a better view of the tax battle by clicking on the diagram of the 64 bracketed tax code sections or scrolling to page two of the professor's article.

Among the hopefuls are cafeteria plans, principal residence sale, stepped-up basis and the timely topic of nuclear decommissioning.

There are the wild cards like municipal bond interest, like-kind exchanges and tertiary injectants.

And, of course, we have the always reliable for this time of year tax break for gambling losses. Speaking of gambling, who's got an office pool going?!

As Dick Vitale would say (if he were a tax geek), "It's tax tip off time, baby!"

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