Clinic Resolves Long-Standing Tax Dispute

Tax Form

Recently, students in the Janet R. Spragens Federal Tax Clinic finally persuaded the IRS that it had erroneously assessed a taxpayer penalty taxes on a retirement plan withdrawal and, further, that the client’s refund claim for the amount erroneously assessed had been timely made. The matter had been repeatedly denied by various IRS offices over a more than three-year period by IRS employees who continually looked at the wrong statutory provisions. No less than six semesters’ students worked tirelessly on this matter and, this fall, the IRS finally relented. The total amount involved was about $2,000 – a princely sum to the taxpayer, but far short of the amount that the client would have needed to hire paid counsel, even if the client could have afforded it.

The Tax Clinic represents low-income earners who have neither the means nor the sophistication to respond to IRS challenges to their past years’ tax liabilities or IRS efforts to collect amounts the taxpayers cannot afford. At any given time, the Tax Clinic client roster might include day care aides, intermittent construction workers, food service workers, security guards, students, musicians, and retirees.