Notre Dame Tax Clinic to receive federal grant

The Notre Dame Law School will receive a federal grant to help fund its recently launched tax clinic.

The South Bend law school announced Monday that it had been awarded the three-year grant through the IRS’ Taxpayer Advocate Service. However, Patrick Thomas, director of the Notre Dame Tax Clinic, said the school cannot announced the amount of funds it will receive until the U.S. Congress officially appropriates the funds, a task usually completed in the early months of a calendar year. Patrick said the school hopes to receive the full $100,000 allowed under U.S. statute.

The Notre Dame Tax Clinic opened this academic year to provide free tax-related legal services to qualified, low-income clients. Law school students in their second and third years represent the low-income and English as a Second Language clients in tax disputes with the IRS, such as notices, liens, levies, tax installment agreements, tax audits, and other tax-related issues. The IRS’ Low Income Tax Clinic Program provides matching funds to organizations such as the new Notre Dame Tax Clinic to develop, expand or maintain low-income taxpayer clinics.

“Our students want more clinical opportunities and this is a great opportunity for us to increase our capacity,” Bob Jones, Notre Dame clinical professor of law and associate dean for experiential programs, said in a statement through the school. “We started the clinic with five students in Fall 2016 and will have nine students for the spring semester. There is clearly a significant interest from students.”

As the clinic continues to grow, Thomas said it will “be looking for systemic issues in the cases that impact law-income taxpayers on a broader scale.” When the clinic encounters such issues, the director said the clinic will report those issues to the IRS in the hopes of influencing necessary reforms.

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