About the Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic
The MSU College of Law Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic ("Tax Clinic") provides no cost legal services to low-income taxpayers who are in controversy with the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") and educational services to those for whom English is a second language. The Clinic is located at 610 Abbot Rd, East Lansing, Michigan, and is open Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM, except during the summer semester when it is open Tuesday through Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM.
The Tax Clinic is a legal-aid clinic. It provides important tax-related legal services to Michigan taxpayers. At the same time, it offers an excellent clinical education program for MSU College of Law students, extending learning beyond the classroom for the benefit of the community. Under Michigan Court Rule 8.120, second- and third-year law students are permitted to practice law under the supervision of clinical faculty who are members of the State Bar of Michigan with experience in tax law.
The Tax Clinic handles all aspects of controversy with the IRS, including assisting clients with tax collection problems, liens and levies, offers in compromise, innocent spouse claims, collections due process hearings, appeals conferences, and filing of past years' tax returns. In addition, the Clinic represents taxpayers in cases before the United States Tax Court.
The Tax Clinic is supported from funding it receives from a variety of sources, including the IRS, the State Bar of Michigan Taxation Section, corporations, law firms, and individuals. This program is approved by the State Bar of Michigan as an entity eligible to receive pro bono contributions from attorneys. The Clinic is grateful for the support it has received in the past, and looks forward to receiving additional funding from new donors to expand its critical services.
The Tax Clinic's mission statement capsulizes its work:
Student clinicians enrolled in Michigan State University College of Law's Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic serve low-income taxpayers who are in controversy with the Internal Revenue Service or who have cases before the United States Tax Court, and counsel persons for whom English is a second language about their rights and responsibilities under the Internal Revenue Code. Student clinicians receive instruction on the intricacies of substantive tax law and tax practice and procedure, and apply this knowledge to resolve clients' tax matters with diligence, excellence, and efficiency. Tax Clinic clinicians receive special permission to practice before the Internal Revenue Service, and also have opportunities to litigate cases in the United States Tax Court. They also educate ESL taxpayers about tax matters by participating in numerous community outreach programs featuring a wide array of tax issues. The Tax Clinic cultivates young lawyers who have a refined sense of responsibility to serve the needs of others.
Low Income Taxpayer Clinic Grant Program (taken from the IRS website)
Every taxpayer has a right to have access to representation. The Low Income Taxpayer Clinic Grant Program is designed, as a result of the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998, to help accredited academic institutions and non profit organizations provide low to no cost tax assistance (such as representing the taxpayer during an audit or tax collection effort) and/or tax outreach to taxpayers for whom English is a second language.
LITCs receive partial funding from the IRS. However, clinics and their volunteers are completely independent of and are not associated with the federal government. Nonprofit organizations, law schools or business schools operate the clinics. Each clinic independently determines if you meet its income guidelines and other criteria before it agrees to represent you. Low income taxpayers may also receive assistance from attorney referral systems operated by state bar associations, local societies of accountants, and other nonprofit tax professional organizations.
The clinics provide: (1) low income taxpayer with representation in federal tax disputes, and (2) tax education and outreach for taxpayers who speak English as a Second Language.
You can locate other LITCs around the country at the IRS website (PDF).
Board of Directors
Prof. Amy Christian,
MSU College of Law
Mr. Charles Hodgson
Mr. Eric Nemeth,
Mr. James Novis,
Dickinson Wright, PLLP
Mr. Michael Vecchioni,
Ernst & Young, LLP