WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service’s Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) Program Office has issued its fourth annual program report. The new report describes how LITCs across the nation have assisted low income taxpayers and individuals who speak English as a second language (ESL) with free or low-cost representation in disputes with the IRS.
During 2014, LITCs represented 19,882 taxpayers in disputes with the IRS and provided consultation or advice to an additional 18,810 taxpayers. LITCs helped taxpayers secure more than $4.3 million in tax refunds and eliminate over $62 million in tax liabilities, penalties and interest.
Through outreach and education activities, LITCs also ensured individuals understood their rights as U.S. taxpayers. LITCs conducted 3,046 educational activities attended by 75,706 persons. Overall, almost 1,800 volunteers contributed to the success of the LITCs.
Here is one example of how LITCs can assist with tax issues: A local Veterans Affairs office referred a taxpayer to an LITC. The taxpayer had lost his business and home while struggling with post-traumatic stress syndrome.
The LITC reconstructed his financial records, filed delinquent tax returns and successfully negotiated an offer in compromise with the IRS. Upon completion of the case, the taxpayer revealed to the LITC attorney that he had been severely depressed over the tax issues and he believes the LITC helped him retake control of his life.
The full report includes an overview and history of the LITC program, discusses the representation, education and advocacy services that LITCs provide. It also illustrates the results that LITCs achieve on behalf of their clients.
The IRS awards matching grants of up to $100,000 per year to qualifying organizations to develop, expand or maintain an LITC. The grant program is administered by the Office of the Taxpayer Advocate at the IRS, led by National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson. Although LITCs receive partial funding from the IRS, LITCs, their employees and volunteers operate independently from the IRS.
LITCs are generally operated by:
- Clinical programs at accredited law, business, or accounting schools.
- Legal aid or legal services organizations.
- Other tax-exempt organizations that assist low income or ESL individuals and families.