The Taxpayer Clinic offers law students opportunities to gain practical lawyering skills while representing low-income taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Students are supervised by experienced tax law attorneys who also are Pitt adjunct faculty members. The clinic is funded by the IRS’s Low Income Taxpayer Clinic grant program (LITC), though the clinic is independent of the IRS. Clients are individuals who have disputes with the IRS concerning their federal taxes; however, the clinic does not prepare tax returns.
Services to the Public
The clinic gives free legal help to persons, based upon their level of income, who have federal income tax problems or need federal income tax advice. Dealing with the clinic will not affect taxpayers’ rights before the IRS.
The clinic provides free advice and assistance for:
- Income tax returns being examined by the IRS;
- IRS tax-collection problems;
- Tax cases pending before the United States Tax Court.
Potential clients should call the clinic at 412-648-1300. Clinic personnel will decide whether or not to represent a client based on:
- The client’s income;
- The issues involved in his or her case;
- The availabilities of clinic students.
Each qualified client will be phoned by a student from the clinic, to arrange a meeting to discuss the client’s legal needs. All conversations with clients are confidential.
Description of Fieldwork / Client Representation
Working under the supervision of experienced tax attorneys, the clinic’s students assist in all aspects of delivering legal services to low-income taxpayers in disputes with the IRS. Students engage in interviewing, counseling, research, drafting, and negotiation with the IRS calendar and the disposition of the cases taken. In addition to working with clients, students meet for weekly case-review sessions.
Description of Classroom Component
Students meet in class once a week with the three adjunct professors to review the status of current clinic cases. Additionally, class time is used to review and discuss:
- Current IRS opinions, rulings, regulations, and other administrative or judicial releases that are pertinent to procedural and/or substantive issues;
- The numerous IRS Forms utilized for collection and due process purposes;
- Preparation of FOIA Requests, refund claims, Requests for Audit Reconsideration, Requests for an Installment Agreement, Tax Court Petitions, Requests to Release Federal Tax Liens, amended tax returns, and Offers in Compromise.
The class also reviews IRS-generated documents, notices, and correspondence.
Transcript / Awarding of Credits
At the end of the semester.
Yes, with the instructor’s permission.
Eligibility Requirements / Prerequisites
Students must have successfully completed 3 semesters of law school. Prerequisites: LAW 5105: Federal Income Taxation. Recommended prior or concurrent course: LAW 5325: Federal Tax Practice & Procedure.
Application Procedure and Selection Basis
There is no special application procedure. Students should follow the regular registration process.
Additional Contact info
University of Pittsburgh Law School Taxpayer Clinic P.O. Box 7226 Pittsburgh, Pa. 15213
Faculty / Staff
Jane LeHew, Clinic Administrator
Martha Mannix, Clinical Associate Professor of Law
Alice L. Stewart, Visiting Clinical Associate Professor
Raymond Vogliano, Adjunct Professor of Law