Low Income Taxpayer Clinics
About Low Income Taxpayer Clinics
If you have a client who cannot afford to pay for representation before the IRS or in court, he or she may qualify for assistance from a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC). LITC services are free or low cost for eligible taxpayers.
LITCs represent low income individuals in disputes with the Internal Revenue Service, including audits, appeals, collection matters, and federal tax litigation. LITCs can also help taxpayers respond to IRS notices and correct account problems. Some LITCs provide education for low income taxpayers and taxpayers who speak English as a second language (ESL) about their taxpayer rights and responsibilities.
LITCs are independent from the IRS but receive some of their funding from the IRS through the LITC grant program. Each clinic determines whether prospective clients meet income guidelines and other criteria before agreeing to represent them.
LITCs generally do not provide tax preparation services but refer clients to:
- Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) programs;
- Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) sites; and
- IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers, where available.
LITC Grant Application
The IRS provides matching grants of up to $100,000 per year to develop, expand or continue the operation of a qualified LITC. LITCs are operated by legal aid and legal services organizations, clinical programs at accredited law, business or accounting schools, and other non-profit organizations that serve low income individuals and families.
The LITC Program, administered by TAS, has issued a 2014 Program Report. The report summarizes how clinics assist thousands of low income taxpayers through pro bono representation, education, and advocacy efforts.
Volunteer at a LITC
The IRS recognizes tax professionals generously give to their communities in a variety of ways. One important opportunity available to you is to provide services to those who do not have the means to hire a tax professional. LITCs need tax professionals such as you to provide pro bono services. Some LITCs offer free tax education courses in exchange for volunteering at the clinic. Find a clinic near you on the LITC Map or IRS Publication 4134, Low Income Taxpayer Clinic List.
Taxpayer Advocate Service
If your client is experiencing economic harm or a systemic problem, or he or she needs help in resolving tax problems that have not been resolved through normal IRS channels, you may want to refer them to the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) for assistance. Find out who qualifies for help from TAS.