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IndyBar: Pro Bono Opportunity Available for Tax Practitioners

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Have you found yourself wanting to use your tax knowledge to benefit members of the community? Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way? Now there is! The Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic (NCLC) has partnered with the IndyBar Tax Section to create a unique opportunity for tax practitioners to use their tax knowledge in a new way.

NCLC’s Low-income Tax Clinic (LITC) has operated since 2002, providing pro bono representation to low-income taxpayers in disputes with the Internal Revenue Service. It also conducts outreach and tax education to low-income and English-as-a-second-language (ESL) taxpayers.

In 2013, the LITC worked to resolve tax issues and provided legal counsel for 548 low-income taxpayers in Indiana. It negotiated with the IRS to stop levies, withdraw liens, set up workable payment plans, accept offers in compromise, resolve identity theft/tax preparer fraud issues, abate penalties as well as obtain favorable exam results and tax court settlements for the clinic’s clients. In doing so, LITC saved low-income neighbors a total of $263,266 in corrected tax liabilities and dollars refunded in 2013. The clinic also conducted 278 live tax education workshops for low-income and ESL taxpayers in Indiana to help them going forward.

LITC volunteers help on several fronts. Here are some of the current needs:

Tax Return Preparation: Most of our low-income neighbors who face tax controversies with the IRS have stopped filing their tax returns, and the IRS requires that taxpayers be in filing compliance before the IRS will consider most collection alternatives (payment plans, offers in compromise, etc.). Helping to get clients in filing compliance is one need.

Offers-in-Compromise (OIC): In recent years, the IRS has streamlined its offer-in-compromise program. The acceptance rate a few years ago was a meager 20 percent. Today, it is nearly 80 percent. Helping LITC file more OICs for clients is another need.

Litigation: The clinic does not have many cases that require litigation, but when it does, it would like to have some volunteers with tax court litigation experience to call upon.

Tax Experts: It would be helpful to have tax experts who can be called for short teleconferences to discuss new and complex tax issues that are encountered.

If this opportunity piques your interest, consider joining the NCLC/LITC in seeking justice and helping our low-income neighbors navigate the IRS. To sign up , email Dee Dee Gowan, Senior Attorney and Low-income Tax Clinic Director at NCLC, at dgowan@nclegalclinic.org.•

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  1. Future generations will be amazed that we prosecuted people for possessing a harmless plant. The New York Times came out in favor of legalization in Saturday's edition of the newspaper.

  2. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  3. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  4. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  5. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

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