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Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic offers help for low-income taxpayers

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Unexpected audits, bankruptcy complications, and misunderstandings about tax law are what bring many low-income clients to the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic’s Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic. The LITC staff – one tax attorney, one paralegal, and one outreach coordinator fluent in English and Spanish – helps clients understand how to handle complicated tax issues.

LITC does not prepare taxes. But the non-profit organization can help people determine what credits they may be entitled to claim. Elizabeth Wiley, LITC outreach coordinator, said that immigrants, in particular, may not be aware of certain tax credits. They also may fall victim to predatory tax preparers, who make false claims on returns in order to boost their own income.

“It’s a problem for immigrants – taxpayers get slammed a few years later with an audit,” she said.

Wiley said about 80 percent of all IRS audits are conducted via mail, and the people who are being audited may not be able to make sense of the lengthy IRS documents that arrive in their mailboxes.

“It can be hard to navigate a problem with the IRS,” she said. “They may have had a debt forgiven that was reported to IRS, and they have to pay taxes on that.”

Wiley expects a surge in clients needing assistance soon, and she said LITC would welcome attorneys interested in assisting with the workload.

”We anticipate there being quite a bit (of new clients) in the next year or so. Because of the First-Time Homebuyer Credit, there could be several exams and audits popping up.”
 

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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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