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Tax Clinic for Low Income Taxpayers

University of Connecticut School of Law Tax Clinic
Lisa Perkins
Assistant Clinical Professor & Director, Tax Clinic
Legal Practice Area: 
Money, Debt, Small Claims, and Consumer Issues
Why is this assistance important to these clients? 
Without the assistance, many low income taxpayers would not have the tax refunds, wages or social security benefits necessary to pay their ordinary and necessary living expenses, or would not be able to correct the amount of tax they owe.
What legal strategies do the pro bono lawyers use to assist the clients? 
Some familiarity with tax and tax procedure. Training will be provided if necessary.
What are the outcome goals of this assistance? 
To assist low income taxpayers in getting much needed refunds or to stop collection by putting accounts in not collectible status or submitting an offer in compromise.
Give a short (1-paragraph) case example: 
I was amazed at the spectrum of issues our Tax Clinic clients faced. Within weeks of enrollment, I was applying a wide range of substantive and procedural tax law to my clients' needs. We worked on challenging cases.” --Brennan Price, '04, Axinn, Veltrop & Harkrider, LLP, Hartford, CT.<br><br>Clients are provided high quality legal representation at three levels before the Internal Revenue Service and the Connecticut Department of Revenue Service.<br><br>1. Audits: Students prepare for and represent clients in connection with audits of income tax returns.<br><br>2. Appeals Students represent clients with regards to the appeal of an adverse audit, the exercise of due process rights after the IRS first tries to collect a past tax by a levy or a lien or the denial of an offer in compromise, or the appeal of an adverse determination of the request for innocent spouse; and<br><br>3. Collection during the process of proposing an alternative payment plan or a compromise of tax liabilities.<br><br>The Tax Clinic also represents its clients in litigation. The Tax Clinic appears before the United States Tax Court with respect to litigation of tax matters, including adverse audit determinations or denials of collection alternatives and generally once a semester attends the United States Tax Court trial session in Hartford, CT. The Tax Clinic also represents clients before the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut, the United States Court of Federal Claims, and the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit with respect to refund actions and Freedom of Information litigation.<br><br>The Tax Clinic does not fill out tax returns or provide other accounting services. The Law School sponsors a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site that is operated in Hartford during the tax filing season. Students interested in enrolling in the Tax Clinic or in providing tax-related public service are encouraged to participate.

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