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Advanced Search   Search Tips

Search Tips's search engine will help you find the information you are looking for, quickly and easily. Use these tips to help you maximize the effectiveness of your search.

Basic Searching and Choosing Search Terms
Advanced Searching
Search Results Page
In-Document Highlighting

Basic Searching and Choosing Search Terms

Basic Search in Header

Search Field: You can find the search field on the right side of the blue header on each page of the website. Type one or more terms in the search box, and select the "Search" button. The search engine will return a list of web pages and documents related to your search term(s).

Effective Search Terms: Specific words and multiple search terms will often help refine your search and provide more valuable results than general or single search terms.

Phrase Search: Search for complete phrases by enclosing them in quotation marks. ("employer identification number")

Boolean AND Search: By default, returns pages that include ALL of your search terms rather than pages including ANY of the terms you entered. This gives you a more manageable list of results tailored to your search request. For best results, IRS recommends that you limit your search request to three or fewer terms.

Capitalization: searches are NOT case sensitive. All letters, regardless of how they are typed, will be understood as lowercase. (eitc, EITC, Eitc, and EiTc will all return the same results.)

Advanced Searching

Advanced Search Page

Find Results: The four search boxes on the Advanced Search page offer the same functionality as the Basic Search, but provide additional options for refining your search and improving the relevance of your search results. Using these fields, you can choose to limit your results to web content that includes or excludes words or phrases from the body or title. You may enter terms in more than one search box to further narrow your result set.

Limit Search To: Use the checkboxes to limit search results to a specific type of content or area of the website. For example, if searching for a form, select the "Forms and Instructions" checkbox. Only forms will appear in the search result set. If searching for information for tax professionals, select the "Tax Professionals" checkbox. You may select as many or as few checkboxes as needed to limit your search. The default box allows you to search the entire site.

File Format: Use the dropdown box to select the desired file format. For example, if you are looking for a publication in PDF format, select PDF from the dropdown. The default allows you to view all file formats.

Date Last Updated: Limit your search results to include only web content that was last updated within a certain time period. Use the dropdown boxes to choose a period or a specific date range.

Display Options: Modify the display of your search result set. Choose the number of results you would like per page and sort those results by relevance (highest score to lowest), date (most recent to least), or title (alphabetical, A to Z).

Search Results Page

Search Results Page

Further Searching: You have the opportunity to narrow your findings by entering additional term(s) in the field provided.

Search Summary Details: Your original search term(s) and the number of results found are listed near the top of the page. Navigate between pages of results using the arrow on the right side of the screen. You can also remove result summaries (select Hide in Summaries: Show | Hide) or sort results in order of date as well (select Date in Sort by: Relevance | Date).

Recommendations: These recommendations are based on IRS analysis of frequently searched keywords and other terms. They provide relevant information for common search terms. Recommended results are separated and indented for your quick reference.

Search Results Set: By default, the list of search results is sorted by relevance, and each retrieved document includes a title and passage-based summary that shows you how each result is relevant to your search term. In addition, hit highlighting bolds your search terms in each summary, immediately bringing those words to your attention. Each search listing includes information about: the URL or location of the document, size of the document, and date the content was last updated.

In-Document Highlighting: Choose "Highlight Term(s)" to view the retrieved web page or document with your search term(s) highlighted. This in-document highlighting enables you to view a document with your search terms highlighted.

Adobe Acrobat Reader: To view/read or print a PDF file you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader software installed on your computer. You can download a version suitable for your system, free of charge, from the Adobe website by clicking on the "Get Adobe Reader" image Get Adobe Reader located at the bottom of the Search Results page. Adobe also provides tools and information to help make Adobe PDF files accessible to users with visual disabilities.

In-Document Highlighting

In-Document Highlighting

In-Document Highlighting Options: You see this screen if you selected "Highlight Term(s)" from the result summaries on the result set page. Your document will be displayed with the total number of matches appearing at the top. Also, from the top of the page, you will be able to turn off highlighting or return to the search result set.

Highlighted Terms: Your search term(s) will be highlighted throughout the HTML document in yellow. Navigate to each instance of your term(s) by selecting the previous and next arrows to the left and right of each highlighted word.

Multiple Search Terms: If your search contains multiple terms, you can use the buttons at the top of the page to view your document with just one term, or all terms, highlighted. You can choose to highlight only one term by selecting the desired term from the list at the top of the page.

In-Document Highlighting PDF

Highlighted Terms: Your search term(s) will be highlighted throughout the PDF document. You can use Adobe Acrobat Reader's built-in search to navigate among the terms or search only within this document. Select the Search button on the File toolbar (binoculars button binoculars) and enter the term(s) you want to look for. As shown below, results will appear in a list in the right side of the Acrobat window, ordered as they occur in the document. To return to your result set from the PDF document, use the "Back" button on your browser.

PDF Search