Washington, DC (PRWEB) January 29, 2015
The Internal Revenue Service’s Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) Program Office issued its annual program report, highlighting how LITCs assisted thousands of low income taxpayers nationwide through pro bono representation, education and advocacy services. Specifically, the report provides an overview and history of the LITC program, discusses the type of cases that LITCs handle, and reports the results that LITCs achieve on behalf of their clients.
LITCs provide free or low-cost tax assistance to low income individuals who have tax disputes with the IRS, such as an audit, appeals hearing, tax collection matter or litigation. LITCs also offer education and conduct outreach to taxpayers who speak English as a second language (ESL). Through their work with low income and ESL taxpayers, LITCs are able to identify administrative practices and procedures that cause their clients hardship. As a result, LITCs advocate for change to improve these problems. Not only do LITCs assist low income and ESL taxpayers with their individual tax issues and advocate for change, but they also help low income and ESL individuals understand and exercise their U.S. taxpayer rights.
During 2013, LITCs represented 20,972 taxpayers in tax disputes with the IRS, and provided consultation and advice to an additional 25,179 taxpayers. LITCs helped taxpayers secure more than $5.2 million in tax refunds and eliminate more than $51.2 million in tax liabilities, penalties and interest. Furthermore, LITCs conducted 3,640 educational activities attended by 129,584 taxpayers. Nearly 2,000 volunteers contributed to the success of LITCs.
The LITC program has a three-pronged mission: to represent, educate and advocate for low income and ESL taxpayers. Included in the report are numerous real-life stories that showcase how LITCs assist low income and ESL taxpayers. For example, an LITC stepped in for a homeless taxpayer who was facing a significant tax debt, which resulted in the IRS filing a notice of a federal tax lien. The LITC obtained an offer in compromise to eliminate the debt and a withdrawal of the federal tax lien, which allowed the taxpayer to secure housing and, ultimately, regain his independence.
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 the National Taxpayer Advocate. 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; and
- Other tax exempt organizations that serve low income individuals and families.
The Low Income Taxpayer Clinic Program Report is available at http://www.taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov/about/litc.
About the Taxpayer Advocate Service:
The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is an independent organization within the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that helps taxpayers and protects taxpayer rights. Your local advocate’s number is in your local directory and at taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov. You can also call 1–877–777–4778. TAS can help if you need assistance resolving an IRS problem, if your problem is causing financial difficulty, or if you believe an IRS system or procedure isn’t working as it should. And our service is free. For more information about TAS and your rights under the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, go to taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov.