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UDC-DCSL Receives $15,000 Grant From DC Bar Foundation

Monday, November 02, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Jordan Uhl
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Jordan Uhl
E: jordan.uhl@udc.edu; P: 202-274-5257 

Washington, DCThe University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law (UDC-DCSL) received a $15,000 grant from the DC Bar Foundation to enhance the services offered by the UDC-DCSL Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic.

The clinic, which provides legal representation to more than 100 clients every year, deals with a wide range of tax-related issues including the denial of certain tax credits or deductions, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit, and issues pertaining to immigrant taxpayers filing under an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number rather than a social security number. 

"One challenge we consistently face in serving clients is the increasingly limited resources available to the IRS. It can take a much longer time to complete a client’s case when we have to spend long periods of time on hold with IRS lines or waiting for responses to requests," Megan Newman, LL.M. Fellow and Clinical Instructor in the Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic at UDC-DCSL said. "This lack of resources is also why our role is important to ensure our clients have advocates who are working within the system as much as possible on their behalf. Another challenge is the number of clients who need assistance compared to the number of students we have  enrolled in Clinic each semester."

One example of a case that is representative of many of the EITC issues we saw this year involved a single mom with three young children who was accepted as a client in early May 2015.  Due to the nuances of her employment with an international organization, she had a host of complicated tax problems, but among them was a denial of the EITC for which she was certainly eligible. She had filed the appropriate form with the IRS to establish eligibility, but for six months received no meaningful response regarding her eligibility.  The IRS then refused to extend a Collection hold on her account to prevent collection activity against her while she received assistance with her various tax issues.  

A student attorney stepped in and contacted the IRS several times to establish the pattern of delay in reviewing the client’s EITC claim. The student then filed a request for assistance with the local Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS).  The TAS representative was able recommend IRS acceptance of the EITC claim and in early February 2016, the IRS finally released thousands of dollars in EITC and Child Tax Credit refunds. This kind of assistance in moving through the bureaucratic process of proving EITC eligibility is essential in preventing taxpayers from losing an extremely valuable credit to which they are entitled.

The grant will enable the clinic to serve more clients and the entire UDC-DCSL community is grateful.

More information on the DC Bar Foundation can be found here.


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