Federal Tax Clinic
Representing low-income taxpayers in federal tax proceedings.
Students in the Federal Tax clinic represent low-income taxpayers in controversies with the IRS, both before the IRS and in federal court. Students will work in teams to represent taxpayers involving examinations, administrative appeals, collection matters and cases before the United States Tax Court and Federal District Courts.
In the past, students’ representation has resulted in substantial taxpayer benefits, including taxpayer receipt of many thousands of dollars of refunds, relief from joint and several liability for innocent spouses, and reduction of tax liabilities through successful negotiated resolutions or compromises of liabilities based upon taxpayer financial hardship. The work of students in the Villanova Federal Tax Clinic has often been the key difference for taxpayers attempting to prove the amount or existence of a federal tax liability or eligibility for refundable credits that can have a significant impact on a taxpayer’s financial condition.
The Villanova Federal Tax Clinic (the “Clinic”) represents low income taxpayers in disputes with the IRS or in federal court. The mission of the clinic is two-fold:
(1) To help law students become reflective, ethical, creative, zealous, and justifiably confident advocates who value pro bono and public interest work. (2) To express publicly, through service and scholarship, the law school’s commitment to serve the poor and disenfranchised members of the community through promoting human flourishing, social justice and the common good.
Case Screenings and Priorities:
The Clinic uses an intake screening process to determine if taxpayers are eligible for representation. During the intake process potential clients are screened for income eligibility and information is gathered about the controversy including the amount being disputed. If the client meets the income guidelines (income that does not exceed 250% of the poverty level), if the amount in controversy does not exceed $50,000 per tax period and if the Director of the Clinic determines the case provides substantial educational value for the Clinic students, then the taxpayer is accepted as a consultation. Further determination will be made by the student representatives under the guidance of the Director as to the scope of any representation.
When the clinic is at maximum capacity, a wait list of potential clients is maintained. Goals and factors impacting a client’s priority on the wait list include:
- Maximizing the Clinic’s impact in protecting and advancing the legal rights of low-income taxpayers
- Providing a rich educational experience for law students
- Promoting administrative and judicial economy
The Villanova Federal Tax Clinic is not permitted to prepare tax returns or ITIN applications.
Faculty: Assistant Professor Christine Speidel