Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic Scores its First Victory
Martin Behn ’12, left, and Eugene Chang ’12 confer with the Tax Clinic Director, Caroline Chen
Mr. and Ms. B. came to the Tax Clinic in January 2012, after they received several letters from the IRS denying their claim for unreimbursed mileage expenses in their 2009 tax return. The couple worked as couriers using their own cars to make their deliveries, and their employers reimbursed them only a portion of their mileage expenses. Over the course of the 2009 year, the unreimbursed differential amounted to over $10,000, an amount that the couple deducted on their tax return. The IRS rejected their claim and asked them to pay more than $2,000 in additional taxes, penalties and accrued interest.
Martin and Eugene met with the clients and reviewed their records. They discovered that Mr. and Ms. B had, in fact, accrued a greater mileage expense than originally reported, which entitled them to a greater deduction. The students, under the supervision of Caroline Chen, the clinic’s supervising attorney and director, drafted a legal memo and collected all the pertinent evidence. In April, they attended a conference with an IRS Appeals Officer and presented their case. After a thorough presentation of the facts, the IRS Appeals Officer agreed to concede the IRS’s case. On May 10th of this year, the clients’ claims were settled and the IRS set aside its previous demands for payment.
“Working with the students taught me a lot about taxes. They were so supportive, and we are so happy with the results. The savings made a huge different to us. We have no words to thank the tax clinic,” said Mr. B.
About the Low-Income Tax Clinic
Santa Clara University School of Law's Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic opened its doors in late 2011 and is currently housed at the Alexander Community Law Center. It offers free legal tax representation to low-income taxpayers located in Santa Clara County and the surrounding counties. The Tax Clinic handles all aspects of controversy with the IRS, including assistance with audit representation, appeals, collection issues and innocent spouse relief.
The Tax Clinic is partially funded through a matching grant provided by the Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic program, which is administered by the Internal Revenue Service's Taxpayer Advocate Service. However, the Tax Clinic is completely independent of, and not associated with, the IRS or the federal government. The partial funding does not imply that the Tax Clinic has a preferential relationship with the IRS.
Learn more at law.scu.edu/taxclinic/index.cfm