Law Students Discuss Income Taxes with Local High School Students Third-year law students Cole Bollman and Pierce Rigney visited a class at Rockbridge County High School to discuss the federal income tax system.
Third-year law students Cole Bollman and Pierce Rigney, both student attorneys in the W&L Law Tax Clinic, recently partnered with Donna Wallace, a Rockbridge County High School teacher (and unapologetic Steelers fan), to engage in educational outreach to local high school students about income taxes.
Bollman and Rigney brainstormed to decide what basic information about the federal income tax system might be useful to teenagers as they prepare to leave home and transition to college or work. On March 1, they presented to four sections of Ms. Wallace’s Economics and Finance course. The topics they covered included the constitutional authority for income tax, the marginal rate structure, consequences for failure to file and/or late filing, a basic overview of certain tax forms, key changes to the Code under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, as well as some practical tips on credits and deductions that they may be able to receive.
“Lecturing at Rockbridge County High School was a unique privilege as a W&L Law student,” said Rigney. “I was grateful for the opportunity to engage within the community, and hopefully, to positively impact local students. It was particularly enjoyable to present to students whose parents are among the law school faculty. I’m proud to have represented our law school in the community, and I hope that we continue to engage in valuable public service as a clinic and law school.”
Bollman also was enthusiastic to bring some of the knowledge he has gained at W&L Law into the community.
“I am grateful to attend a law school that equips and encourages law school students to serve the local community,” said Bollman. “Teaching at Rockbridge County High School was a unique opportunity to use our legal knowledge in a very practical way, and I hope to have many more opportunities like this as I head into practice next year.”
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.
In addition, students in the Tax Clinic undertake outreach efforts to educate taxpayers on tax law issues of relevance to low-income and working families. For example, students created a presentation and explanatory materials on the changes resulting from the tax reform bill passed in December 2017 and also presented on the earned income tax credit at the annual statewide legal aid conference.