Feature Stories Campus Events

IRS Renews W&L Tax Clinic Federal Grant Award for Three Years

The Tax Clinic at the Washington and Lee University School of Law has been awarded a matching grant by the Internal Revenue Service’s Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) Program Office. This is the twelfth straight year that the Tax Clinic has received federal dollars to support its efforts.

Although the award is structured as a multi-year grant, the actual amount the Tax Clinic receives varies by year. Prof. Michelle Drumbl, who directs the Clinic, recently learned that the LITC Program Office will provide a matching grant of $87,700 to help fund the Tax Clinic for the 2019 calendar year. This brings the total federal funds awarded to the clinic since its inception to $830,710.

“The grant determination follows a competitive application process that includes an evaluation by the LITC program of our clinic’s ongoing work,” said Drumbl. “I am very pleased that the LITC program continues to recognize our clinic’s work representing low-income taxpayers in Virginia. I am additionally proud of the work our students are performing in the community.”

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 students assist taxpayers with audits and a wide array of collections issues. The clinic also represents taxpayers in cases before the U.S. Tax Court. Through the work of the students, most cases are resolved without the need for a trial.

In addition, students in the Tax Clinic undertake outreach efforts to educate taxpayers on tax law issues. This year, clinic students led local educational outreach events that included speaking to personal finance classes at Rockbridge Country High School and presenting tax tips to employees at neighboring Virginia Military Institute.

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 $62,750 per year is eligible to use the Tax Clinic’s services.

The IRS LITC Program Office is part of 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.