W&L Tax Clinic Receives IRS Grant for Seventh Straight Year

Michelle Drumbl, Associate Clinical Professor of Law and Director, Tax Clinic, Washington and Lee University School of Law

Michelle Drumbl, Associate Clinical Professor of Law and Director, Tax Clinic

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 seventh straight year that the Tax Clinic has received federal dollars to support its efforts.

The grant of $75,000, the largest in the Clinic's history, will help fund the Clinic for the 2014 calendar year.

"It is an honor to continue in the LITC program along with a nationwide network of clinics that provide low-income taxpayers access to pro bono legal representation before the Internal Revenue Service," said Michelle Drumbl, associate clinical professor of law and director of the Tax Clinic. "The Tax Clinic provides an excellent opportunity for our students to advocate for members of our community and make a meaningful difference."

Law students working in the Tax Clinic provide free legal representation to low-income taxpayers in resolving their controversies with the Internal Revenue Service. The Clinic is not involved in routine tax preparation, but the students do help with audits and a wide array of collections issues. Students are responsible for their clients in every aspect of representation, an experience that helps prepare them for whichever field of practice they choose.

The Tax Clinic serves the entire state of Virginia. 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. For example, a family of four making less than $57,625 per year is eligible to use the Tax Clinic's services.

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.

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