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The “University of Illinois Tax Workbook,” used by tax schools in 17 states (including Illinois), has been published at the UI since 1965. Originally called the Farm Income Tax Workbook, the book is created annually by staff members in the UI Tax School Program (in the UI College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences) and Facilities and Services’ Printing Department.
Through the years, the now 700-page workbook has increased its number of pages, involved more writers and technical reviewers, and improved its index. What began as a compilation of IRS publications has evolved into a comprehensive practitioner-oriented workbook on specific taxation topics. Today the contents reflect new tax legislation and areas practitioners find complex or confusing.
“The amazing thing about [the workbook] is that it is created and printed in a very short time,” said Terri Kobel, director of the Tax School Program. “The content is decided in January, and authors submit their content by June 1st. The content is technically reviewed, revised, typeset and ready for a reviewer’s workshop in August. Corrections are made and it is printed at the end of September. This is an amazingly fast turn-around time, especially considering the length and complexity of the content.”
Authors and technical reviewers of the workbook include university faculty members, practitioners recognized for their expertise in specific topics, and IRS personnel.
Co-editors of the workbook are Kobel; Gary Hoff, UI Extension specialist – taxation; and Lanny Lobdell, visiting farm tax specialist. For the 2003 workbook, faculty members within ACES who also were involved are Don Uchtmann and Paul McNamara.
The Printing Department manages the pre-production, pre-press, and print production of the workbook.
According to Kobel, the current format of the workbook is a legacy to the late C. Allen Bock, UI professor of agricultural law. Bock built the IIlinois Tax School into a successful program reaching more than 6,000 Illinois practitioners annually. “Dr. Bock also established the foundation of the workbook as practitioner-oriented,” Kobel said, “which is consistent with his Extension focus. Participants of the tax schools continue to indicate the workbook is one of the best resources they have in their offices.”