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ABA Tax Challenge Research Guide: Finding and Updating Regulations

Finding Regulations

To Find Regulations:

  • The Government Publishing Office (GPO) publishes an official annual version of the CFR in print and on its website, as well as a more frequently updated, but unofficial, version called the eCFR.
    • The official annual version of the CFR and the eCFR are linked at the bottom of this box. 
  • The above sources of the CFR can be navigated by keyword search, by using an index, or by annotations made in the USC
    • Keyword search: both the annual CFR and eCFR have browse and search options.
      • In the annual CFR, click "search" at the top right of the page to search by keyword, advanced options, or by citation.
      • In the eCFR, search options are available by clicking in the menu to the left of the page. 
      • In either case, a keyword search can sometimes be a better locator than the index, so you may wish to try both.
    • Index: the CFR index is a PDF that is updated with each publication
      • The 2019 version is the latest
      • You can use this to find where a term or topic is located in the CFR 
    • Annotations in the USC: code annotations often cite to the CFR. 
      • For one example, the USC available in Westlaw Edge may cite to relevant sections of the CFR in:
        • the "Citing References" link
        • the "Notes of Decision" tab
        • the "Context & Analysis" tab

Updating Regulations

The official CFR is updated once a year in a series of 4 updates to a group of titles. The schedule for these updates is as follows:

  • Titles 1-16 are updated January 1st
  • Titles 17-27 are updated April 1st
  • Titles 28-41 are updated July 1st
  • Titles 42-50 are updated October 1st

There are two methods listed below to help you make sure that you are looking at the most current version of federal regulations.

To Update Regulations:

There is a 'quick' way to update regulation which does not use the official version of the CFR. While you are becoming more familiar with updating regulations, it may be a best practice for you to use the "Official" method detailed below. 

  • "Quick" Method: The eCFR is a quick way to determine updates, and the versions on Lexis and Westlaw platforms are also updated more frequently than the official version. 
    • To update this way, determine how current the regulation is in the CFR and then search the Federal Register for information from that date to present. 
  • "Official" Method: Follow the below 'steps' to update regulations in the official CFR:
    1. Find the text of the regulation in the annual edition of the C.F.R., and make note of the revision date of the title.
    2. Check the most recent pamphlet of LSA: List of CFR Sections Affected. (click on Monthly LSA) References in the LSA are to page numbers in the Federal Register.
    3. Check for changes after the dates listed on the title page of the LSA by using the cumulative list of "CFR Parts Affected during [month]" in the Reader Aids section of the latest Federal Register issue.
    4. Check the Federal Register issues cited, if any, to see the text of the changes to the regulation.

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