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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. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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