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U.S. Department of the Treasury: Low Income Taxpayer Clinic

Deadline: June 17, 2019

The mission of the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) Program is to ensure the fairness and integrity of the federal tax system for all taxpayers, particularly for low income individuals and taxpayers for whom English is a second language (ESL).

LITC grantees must:

  • Represent individual low income taxpayers in controversies with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
  • Educate low income and ESL taxpayers about their rights and responsibilities as U.S. taxpayers
  • Identify and advocate for issues that impact low income taxpayers
  • Provide dollar-for-dollar matching funds
  • Offer LITC services for free or for no more than a nominal fee

A taxpayer who cannot afford to hire a representative has the right to be informed about their potential eligibility for assistance from an LITC. The LITC Program protects taxpayers’ rights by providing free or low cost access to representation for low income taxpayers, so that achieving a correct outcome in an IRS dispute does not depend on the taxpayer’s ability to pay for representation.

Helping a taxpayer avoid a tax controversy through education and outreach is another essential function of LITCs. LITCs are required to educate taxpayers on their rights and responsibilities to help them understand the U.S. tax system, exercise their rights as taxpayers, and comply with their tax responsibilities. Learning is enhanced by LITCs providing an opportunity for taxpayers to ask questions and interact with clinic staff. Outreach activities may involve direct communication with taxpayers or be accomplished indirectly through other organizations or groups that assist low income and ESL taxpayers.

At least 90 percent of the taxpayers the LITC represents must be low income, meaning a taxpayer’s income does not exceed 250 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. In addition, when an LITC represents a taxpayer, the dollar amount in controversy for any tax year generally must not exceed the amount specified in Internal Revenue Code (IRC) (currently $50,000).

Amount: Grants of up to $100,000 per year for up to a three-year period will be awarded. Grantees are required to provide matching funds on a dollar-for-dollar basis.

Eligibility: Academic institutions and nonprofit organizations throughout the U.S., which must meet the goals of the program to provide representation, education, and advocacy on behalf of
low income and ESL taxpayers.

Link: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=315360

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