1. Check Each Case File For Critical Deadlines
As soon as you receive a case, read the fle thoroughly and review the Amicus File Summary.
The File Summary (located on Side I of the case file and in Amicus) should serve as a guide on how to proceed, but you should not rely on it as an infallible course of action. It is possible that the File Summary may omit pertinent information missing. Take a fresh approach at the case and determine what the next action should be, consult your supervisor and proceed accordingly. The semester moves quickly, so if you are able to get started early, you will have a better opportunity to resolve some of your cases or bring them near resolution before semester's end.
In cases in which a statutory notice (30-day, 90-day, or Determination Letter) was received, calculate the date by which a response must be made unless such date is already indicated on the letter itself. If a petition is required, see either your supervisor or a second semester student immediately to get started on it. Petitions may be somewhat complicated, and you might require assistance. All petitions must be submitted to Professor Blasi for review and the must be signed by Professor Blasi and Mr. Timm.
If the case file contains a Notice of Lien or a Notice of Intent to Levy, consider filing an immediate appeal within the statutory 30-day period. If that period has expired and no stay (suspension of collection activity) has been obtained, contact the IRS to obtain a stay on the account. This will give you some time to gather information from the client and determine the proper course of action. An extension of the 30-day period may not be branted by the IRS.
When you read the case file, be sure to read between the lines and look for subtle investigative leads and less obvious legal and factual issues. Everything essential to the case does not appear in plain view in the file. As you read the file, consider what the legal and factual implications are of what you read.
2. Process A Form 2848, Power of Attorney (“POA”), For Each Client
Form 2848, Power of Attorney, ("POA") is required to be completed and filed with the IRS before the IRS will discuss a case with someone other than the taxpayer.
The taxpayer (and taxpayer's spouse, if a joint return was filed) must sign and date this form. The form must also be signed by the student attorney, the Clinic Director and the Associate Director. The dated signatures of the parties must be within 45 days of one another.
The POA must follow the format established by the IRS for Low-Income Taxpayer Clinics posted in the copy room, and the student's "Special Orders" must be attached to the copy sent to the IRS.
Each existing client file will contain either a blank (client signed but no student signature) POA or no blank POA. Follow the appropriate procedures below based on what is, or is not, contained in the file:
Blank (client signed but no student signature) POA in the file:
- Complete page 1 with your name and CAF number, and sign and date page 2 at the bottom on the line next to "QLITC Special Orders"; a partially completed POA can be found on the "T" drive and is named "POA-Timm1.pdf".
- Submit the signed POA to the Associate Director for his signature; and
- Submit the completed POA to the Administrative Secretary for faxing to the CAF unit, or alternatively, fax the POA along with the Special Orders directly to the CAF unit yourself.
No Blank POA in the file:
- Verify whether or not the last student attorney sent a POA to the client by examining that student's end of semester transition letter to the client on Side II of the file;
- If a POA was sent by the previous student attorney, follow up with the client when you contact him/her; or
- If a POA was not sent by the previous student attorney, send the client a new one along with a self addressed stamped envelope and letter introducing yourself. See Form 2848 under for additional information on completing this form.
Instructions for Completing Forms 2848
A partially completed POA may be found on the "T" drive and is named "POA-4Rep.pdf";
In Part I, No. 1, fill in the taxpayer's name, address, and Social Security number;
In Part I, No. 2 (Representatives) fill in the Clinic Director's name, CAF number, and the Clinic’s address telephone and fax number in the first blank space (this info is already contained in the partially completed form on the "T" drive);
Fill in the Associate Director’s name, CAF number, and the Clinic’s address, telephone and fax number in the second blank space in Part 1, No. 2 (this info is already contained in the partially completed form on the "T" drive);
Fill in your name, followed by "Student Attorney," your unique CAF number and the Clinic's address, telephone and fax number in the third blank space under Part I, No. 2 on the form;
Enter type of tax, appropriate form number and year in dispute in Part I, number 3 (Note: if multiple years are involved, do not use dashes ("-"). You must use the words "thru" or "through" instead. ex. 2001 thru 2006); Include all years from the year in question to the current year.
Obtain a partially completed Page 2 of the form located in the tray in the right corner of the Administrative Secretary’s office;
Have the taxpayer sign and date the partially completed Page 2, Part II, number 9;
In the space identified by "QLITC" and "Special Orders," sign your name just above "Student Attorney" at the bottom of the partially completed page 2;
Date the form in the space provided next to your signature;
Submit the form to the Associate Director for review and signature; and
Either you or the Associate Director should submit the form to the Administrative Secretary for faxing to the CAF unit. If the Administrative Secretary is unavailable, you may attach the "Special Orders" located in a tray in the right corner of the Administrative Secretary's office to the form and fax it to CAF directly. The number for the CAF unit is pre-programmed in the facsimilie and instructions are labeled on the machine itself.
- Review a previously completed POA in a case file for guidance.
- When completing a POA for the client’s signature, always include the client’s name and address on the front of the POA. Without such identification, the POA could potentially be returned with an illegible signature and thus unidentifiable as to the particular client to whom it belongs. Additionally, completing this information and sending it to the client for review allows the client to make any corrections if necessary.
- All POA's sent to the IRS must be accompanied by the approval letter from the Director of Professional Responsibility and the request for Special Orders (collectively referred to as “Special Orders”). Special Orders are in the tray on the counter at the far right corner of the Secretary’s office. Pre-addressed fax covers to the CAF Unit can be found in the marked tray at the same location as the Special Orders. The number has been pre-programmed in the fax machine as #01. Retain all fax confirmation sheets (for this and all other faxed documents).
- If an IRS agent tells you he or she can't find your name on the system as your client's representative and the POA was faxed to the CAF unit over 48 hours ago, please let the Administrative Secretary know. She will contact the CAF unit to follow up.
3. Contact Your Clients
Contact with all of your clients within five working days after the first class. Record any phone communications in Amicus. Clients are aware of the semester change and are anxiously waiting to hear from their new student attorney. During the initial telephone contact with the client:
- Establish when the best time is for you to reach her;
- Inform the client of the best time you can be reached at the Clinic;
- As a matter of policy, do not provide your home phone number to a client unless exceptional circumstances exist;
- Confirm the client’s current address and phone number for the file;
- Ask the client if she has received anything from the IRS since her last contact with the prior student attorney; and
- Inform the client approximately when you plan to get in touch with him/her again.
You will undoubtedly have questions regarding procedural and/or substantive issues with your cases. If you have questions regarding the particulars of a case, you may contact the student attorney who handled the case last semester. You may also see your supervisor, a GRA or second semester student with your questions after you have reviewed the file.
A word of caution is in order here. Instead of going to the Clinic Director or the Associate Director with a question, approach them with a proposed solution or thoughtful alternatives. In other words, do preliminary research, investigation or inquiry and reason through the problem in order to be prepared to discuss the relative merits of the proposed solution with them. Most of the information you will need regarding the procedural and substantive issues of your cases is contained within this website, so become familiar with it and use it diligently.
5. Update The Amicus File Summary
Update the Amicus File Summary, if applicable. You may find that after your review of the file, contact with the client, and consultation with Clinic Personnel that changes should be made to the File Summary. If so, update the File Summary accordingly and it will serve you well throughout the semester as a guide to the client’s issues as well as a compass by which to navigate your client’s case toward resolution.
6. Refer to "Admin Procedures"