The Taxpayer Advocate Service of the IRS recently approved a three-year grant for the Notre Dame Tax Clinic. The IRS awards matching grants through its Low Income Tax Clinic Program to qualifying organizations to develop, expand, or maintain low-income taxpayer clinics. The mission of the LITC program is to represent low-income taxpayers who have controversies with the IRS; educate clients about their rights and responsibilities as taxpayers; and identify and advocate for issues that systemically impact low-income taxpayers.
The Notre Dame Tax Clinic opened in the 2016-2017 school year and provides free tax-related legal services to qualified, low-income clients. Second- and third-year law students represent low-income and English-as-a-Second-Language clients in tax disputes with the IRS. It is the Law School’s fifth community-oriented law clinic.
The clinic assists clients with IRS notices, liens, and levies; tax installment agreements; tax audits; tax collection hearings and conferences; earned income and child tax credit denial; and identity theft, among other areas, said Patrick Thomas, director, Notre Dame Tax Clinic.
The number of Indiana residents who find themselves in disputes with the IRS presents a significant community need, said Bob Jones, clinical professor of law and associate dean for experiential programs.“Our students want more clinical opportunities and this is a great opportunity for us to increase our capacity,” Jones said.
“We started the clinic with five students in Fall 2016 and will have nine students for the spring semester. There is clearly a significant interest from students,” Thomas said. In addition to individual case assistance, Thomas said the Clinic will “be looking for systemic issues in the cases we see that impact low-income taxpayers on a broader scale. As we encounter them, we will report those issues to the IRS, in hopes that we can influence any necessary reforms.”
The clinic is located in the Clinical Law Center at 725 Howard Street, South Bend, Ind.