The Tax Clinic at the Washington and Lee University School of Law has been awarded a matching grant from the Internal Revenue Service's Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic program (LITC). This is the third straight year that the Tax Clinic has received federal dollars to support its efforts.
The grant of $49,734 will fund the clinic for the 2010 calendar year, helping to offset a substantial portion of clinic's operating costs.
Students in the Tax Clinic, which began operations in spring 2008, provide free legal representation to low-income taxpayers in resolving their controversies with the Internal Revenue Service. Students also present educational outreach to individuals who speak English as a second language on their rights and responsibilities as U.S. taxpayers.
"The continued support of the LITC program is a great vote of confidence for our work," said Michelle Drumbl, assistant clinical professor of law and director of the Tax Clinic. "We are seeing an increasing number of taxpayers who have fallen upon hard economic times and need a voice to advocate for them before the IRS."
At least 90% of the clients represented by the clinic are "low-income", meaning their incomes do not exceed 250% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines published annually by the Department of Health and Human Services. Working with the University's English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program and bilingual student volunteers, the Clinic provides assistance as necessary in Spanish.
The Clinic's service area includes much of the Shenandoah Valley region of Virginia, including the cities of Lexington, Roanoke, Harrisonburg, Staunton, Charlottesville, and Lynchburg. Visit the tax clinic website, law.wlu.edu/taxclinic, for a complete listing of areas served and client qualifications.
The IRS Low Income Taxpayer (LITC) grant program is administered by the Office of the Taxpayer Advocate, which operates independently of any other IRS office and reports directly to Congress through the National Taxpayer Advocate. Likewise, clinics funded by the grant program remain completely independent of and are not associated with the federal government. The LITC grant program was created as part of the Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998.