Low Income Taxpayer Clinics Celebrate 20 Years of Taxpayer Service

July 17, 2018

LITC celebrates 20 yearsJuly 22, 2018 marks the 20th anniversary of Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITC). Low Income Taxpayer Clinics were enacted by Congress on July 22, 1998, as part of the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998. The LITC program today consists of 134 clinics in 48 states and the District of Columbia. From 2012 to 2016, LITCs:

  • represented more than 52,400 low income taxpayers with IRS controversies; and
  • educated more than 450,000 low income taxpayers along with those for whom English is a second language about their rights and responsibilities under the tax code.

You may qualify for LITC assistance if your income doesn’t exceed 250 percent of the federal poverty level or if you speak English as a second language. 

One of the ten fundamental rights taxpayers have when dealing with the IRS is the right to retain representation, meaning taxpayers have the right to retain an authorized representative of their choice to represent them in their interactions with the IRS. 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 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.

Each year, the IRS may award grants up to $100,000 (based upon availability of appropriated funds) to qualifying organizations for development, expansion or continuation of an LITC. In 1999, the IRS awarded grants totaling less than $1.5 million to 34 entities located in 18 states and the District of Columbia. The LITC Program Office’s history of recruiting efforts coupled with sound judgment in selecting federal grant recipients has fostered the growth of a nationwide network of independent organizations working towards a common purpose in their local communities. In 2018, the IRS awarded more than $11.8 million in grants to 134 grantees located in 48 states and the District of Columbia.

LITC grantees:

  • represent individual low income taxpayers in controversies with the IRS;
  • educate low income and English as a Second Language (ESL);
  • identify and advocate for issues that impact low income taxpayers;
  • provide dollar-for-dollar matching funds; and
  • offer LITC services for free or for no more than a nominal fee.

LITCs must have at least one staff member who is authorized to represent taxpayers before the IRS. In addition, all LITCs must have a staff member or a pro bono panel member who is admitted to practice before the United States Tax Court to handle litigation matters.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Learn more about the LITC programs in your area. 

Happy Anniversary Video Messages From Around the Country

Bay Area Legal Services LITC

Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A

Centro Hispano LITC

Kansas City Tax Clinic

Lone Star Legal Aid

Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service

Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic

Syracuse University College of Law LITC

Tennessee Low Income Taxpayer Clinic

Texas A&M University School of Law

University of Denver LITC