Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic

Mission Statement

Through education and pro bono representation to low-income taxpayers, Santa Clara University School of Law’s Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic helps to ensure the fairness and integrity of the tax system for the benefit of the local community, and educates law students in the effective, professional and ethical representation of clients in tax disputes with the IRS.

The Santa Clara University School of Law’s Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic (“Tax Clinic”) 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 assisting clients with audit representation, appeals, non-filers, collection issues, innocent spouse relief, and offers in compromise. In addition, Tax Clinic student attorneys represent taxpayers in cases before the United States Tax Court. The Tax Clinic also may represent clients in state tax controversies that are related to federal tax controversies.

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.

All of the Tax Clinic’s services are provided free of charge, but under the requirements of the federal grant we expect to receive, the Clinic may only provide legal representation to taxpayers whose income does not exceed 250 percent of the annual Federal Poverty Guidelines (specific amounts for eligibility guidelines are described here).

Please note that the Tax Clinic does not handle transactional tax matters, back filing past year tax returns or current year tax return preparation. However, there are many local Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites that provide seasonal preparation of federal income tax returns.

This website contains information about federal income tax disputes, but it is not intended to serve as a substitute for legal counsel. To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, we inform you that any U.S. federal tax advice contained on this website (including links and attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and may not be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed on this website.

Low-Income Tax Clinic Success Stories