This clinic is grounded in the development of practical skills necessary to effectively represent low-income taxpayers who have a tax controversy. Tax cases generally include audits of tax returns, filing and trying cases in Tax Court and Federal District Court, and bringing taxpayers into collection compliance. Since the Earned Income Credit and refundable Child Tax credits are now the major form of public welfare benefits for low-income workers and, thus, often an important component of tax controversies, the Clinic offers opportunities to work on these issues with clients. Clinic students do not generally prepare tax returns unless it is required to resolve the controversy.
Clinic students participate in a clinic seminar during the fall semester, which provides training in clinic office procedures, lawyering skills and professional responsibility with an emphasis on those relevant to tax practice, and tax procedure and law relevant to representing low-income taxpayers. Guest speakers from the IRS, MN Department of Revenue and practicing bar provide useful information about the practice of tax law.
Students who would benefit from enrollment include those that have an interest in tax, business or bankruptcy practice who will find it helpful to understand the workings of the tax administration authority (i.e. IRS/MNDOR); who are interested in pursuing a career in public interest law; who have an interest in administrative and statutory law practice; have an interest in assisting immigrants meet the tax requirements for citizenship; or students who just want to make a difference in the lives of poor, immigrant or disabled individuals.
- Weekly status meetings with Professor Smith and the student director assigned to any particular case are required throughout the entire academic year.
- Clinic students participate in community education and outreach events during the spring semester.
What to expect when working on cases and with clients: Students will take on an average 3-5 client cases. Students will meet with clients in person, on the phone
and correspond with them. Clients in the Tax Clinic may have English as their second language.
NOTE: This course requires certification pursuant to the student practice rule and is open to JD students only.