Syllabus for ACC-421



Federal Income Taxation is a one-semester course designed to help you learn the basics of federal income taxation of individuals. The course covers the basic tax calculations, filing status, gross income inclusions and exclusions, gain and loss recognition, business and personal deductions, tax credits, and filing requirements. It also looks briefly at the taxation of partnerships, as well as that of corporations and special "S corporations."

Student advisory: Working knowledge of Microsoft Excel is required.


By successfully completing the learning activities of the course, including careful study of the textbook, use of chapter self-tests, and problem solving, you should be able to:

  1. Apply all steps in preparing individual taxable income and tax.
  2. Indicate which items are included in income and which items are excluded.
  3. Recognize deductible business expenses and nonbusiness deductions.
  4. Calculate depreciation, bad debts, and losses.
  5. Apply the rules for capital and ordinary gain and loss recognition.
  6. Demonstrate conversance with available individual tax credits.
  7. Articulate the fundamentals of the taxation of corporations and partnerships.


You will need the following textbook to do the work of the course. The required textbook is available from the University's textbook supplier, MBS Direct.


Federal Income Taxation is a three-credit online course, consisting of six modules. Modules include study materials and activities. Module titles are listed below.

Module activities comprise self-check quizzes, graded online discussions, and written assignments. You are also required to take a midterm examination and complete a final project. See the section "Assessment Methods" for further details.


For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in six online discussion forums in addition to an ungraded introductions forum; complete six written assignments; take a proctored online midterm examination; and complete a final project. See below for more details.

Consult the Course Calendar for assignment due dates.

Promoting Originality

One or more of your course activities may utilize a tool designed to promote original work and evaluate your submissions for plagiarism. More information about this tool is available in About SafeAssign.

Online Discussion Forums

In addition to an ungraded Introductions Forum in Module 1, Federal Income Taxation requires you to participate in six graded class discussions (worth 12% of your course grade). Like the written assignments, online discussions draw on end-of-chapter discussion questions and problems from the textbook.

Communication with the mentor and among fellow students is a critical component of online learning. Participation in online discussions involves two distinct activities: an initial response to the assigned problems and subsequent comments on classmates' responses.

You will be evaluated both on the quality of your responses (i. e., the correctness of your answer and your understanding of the tax code) and on your participation (i. e., the number of times you participate meaningfully in the assigned forums). Responses and comments should be properly proofread and edited, professional, and respectful.

Meaningful participation in online discussions is relevant to the content, adds value, and advances the discussion. Comments such as "I agree" and "ditto" are not considered value-adding participation. Therefore, when you agree or disagree with a classmate, the reading, or your mentor, state and support your agreement or disagreement.

Written Assignments

You are required to complete six written assignments (worth 38% of your course grade). The written assignments help to solidify and summarize the tax laws for you and consist of discussion questions and problems from the end of each assigned chapter in the textbook. Be sure to show all computations.

Midterm Examination

Note: For a list of key concepts that may appear on your exam, refer to the study guide available in the Examinations section of the course website.

Federal Income Taxation requires you to take a proctored midterm examination (worth 30% of your course grade). You must take the exam online using the University's Online Proctor Service. Please refer to the "Examinations and Proctors" section of the Online Student Handbook (see General Information area of the course Web site) for further information about scheduling and taking online exams and for all exam policies and procedures. You are strongly advised to schedule your exam within the first week of the semester.

The proctored midterm examination is open book, which means you may bring texts and notes and use a calculator*. It covers all material assigned in Modules 1–3 of the course. The exam is three hours long and consists of multiple-choice questions and problems similar to those on the written assignments.

Online exams are administered through the course Website. Consult the Course Calendar for the official dates of exam weeks.

*Note: You are permitted to use a calculator (scientific, graphing, or financial) but may not use a calculator on a phone, PDA, or any similar device.

Final Project

In lieu of a final examination, you are required to complete a final project (worth 20 percent of your course grade). The final project consists of a tax return along with two end-of-chapter problems assigned from the text.

Instructions for completing and submitting the final project will be made available to you in the penultimate week of the course in the Final Project section of the course website. Please consult the Course Calendar for the project's due date.


Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:






























Below 60

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or better (for an area of study course) or D or better (for a course not in your area of study), based on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., exams, assignments, discussion postings, etc.).


First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to maintaining academic quality, excellence, and honesty. The University expects all members of its community to share the commitment to academic integrity, an essential component of a quality academic experience.

Students at Thomas Edison State University are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

All members of the University community are responsible for reviewing the Academic Code of Conduct Policy in the University Catalog and online at Thomas Edison State University.

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State University expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the University insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty can take the following forms:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to helping students understand the seriousness of plagiarism, which is defined as using the work and ideas of others without proper citation. The University takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing are subject to discipline under the academic code of conduct policy.

If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, or without identifying it as a direct quote, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > “Citing Sources.”)

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else’s. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

For examples of unintentional plagiarism, advice on when to quote and when to paraphrase, and information about writing assistance, click the links provided below.

Examples of Unintentional Plagiarism

When to Quote and When to Paraphrase

Writing Assistance at Smarthinking

Disciplinary Process for Plagiarism

Acts of both intentional and unintentional plagiarism violate the Academic Code of Conduct.

If an incident of plagiarism is an isolated minor oversight or an obvious result of ignorance of proper citation requirements, the mentor may handle the matter as a learning exercise. Appropriate consequences may include the completion of tutorials, assignment rewrites, or any other reasonable learning tool in addition to a lower grade for the assignment or course. The mentor will notify the student and appropriate dean of the consequence by e-mail.

If the plagiarism appears intentional and/or is more than an isolated incident, the mentor will refer the matter to the appropriate dean, who will gather information about the violation(s) from the mentor and student, as necessary. The dean will review the matter and notify the student in writing of the specifics of the charge and the sanction to be imposed.

Possible sanctions include:

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