Many accredited law schools operate academic tax clinics (academic tax clinics) that provide assistance to low-income and unrepresented taxpayers.
Academic tax clinics help taxpayers to comply with the Internal Revenue Code and to deal appropriately with the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal courts. The United States Tax Court (the Court) recognizes the important assistance that academic tax clinics provide to otherwise unrepresented taxpayers.
For academic clinics which agree to adhere to the requirements stated herein, the Court includes standard information about the clinic in mailings to petitioners and permits law students enrolled in academic tax clinics to participate in Court hearings and trials.
The Court will apply the following requirements with regard to recognition of academic tax clinics and student participation in proceedings before the Court.
Sec. 1.Standards for Recognition of Academic Tax Clinics
To be recognized by the Court, an academic tax clinic shall:
a. Constitute a clinical program offered by a law school accredited by the American Bar Association, in which a student receives credit(s) for academic and practice advocacy training.
An academic clinic shall be supervised by a director who shall serve as a point of contact for communications to and from the Court. If the director is an adjunct member of the faculty or part-time member of the staff of the sponsoring law school, the signature of a law school administrative official is required on the letter to the Chief Judge (see sec. 1.e.).
b. Establish guidelines for screening cases, including therein the objectives of public service and judicial and administrative economy. An academic tax clinic's guidelines should be interpreted so that assistance is offered, as appropriate, to low-income taxpayers who have filed a petition with
the Court or who expect to do so.
c. Inform all persons associated with the academic tax clinic that the director is personally responsible at all times to the Court and to the taxpayer/petitioner for meeting deadlines, monitoring case preparation, ensuring full compliance with the Court's Rules of Practice and
Procedure and with orders issued by the Court, and, in general, properly preparing a case for hearing, trial, or other disposition.
d. Comply with the U.S. Tax Court Requirements for Nonacademic Clinical Programs if the academic clinic is associated with a nonacademic tax clinic
e. Submit to the Chief Judge, on or before February 15 of each year, a letter which includes:
(1) the name, address, Tax Court Bar number and contact information (including the e-mail address) of the clinic director and clinic practitioners;
(2) the place(s) of trial served by the academic clinic;
(3) Whether the academic clinic would like its stuffer notice to be sent to taxpayers in regular tax cases, small tax cases or both;
(4) An updated one page stuffer notice that the Court can use to notify taxpayers of the availability of the clinic services for the coming year.
(5) A statement from the academic clinic will comply with these Requirements;
(6) A copy of the electronic link to the academic clinic's guidelines as described in 1.b. above;
(7) Whether students are enrolled or otherwise participating in the clinical program spring/summer/fall semester(s), or year round
(8) a. an approximate number of taxpayers with cases pending in the Court with whom the academic clinic consulted and;
b. the number of taxpayers for whom the academic clinic entered an appearance during the calendar year preceding the submission of the letter; and
(9) any suggestions that the academic clinic may offer for better assisting low-income taxpayers in their interactions with the Court.
The letter to the Chief Judge and updated stuffer notice referred to in this provision may be submitted to the Court in paper form or, if in PDF format, as an attachment to an e-mail using
the Contact Us link.
f. Immediately inform the Chief Judge of any material changes in the information submitted to
the Court pursuant to section 1.e., above.
Sec. 2. Appearance and Representation
A petition, subsequent pleading, motion, or other paper may be filed with the Court through an academic tax clinic under the following circumstances:
Sec. 3. Student Participation in Court Proceedings
If the requirements set forth above are satisfied, the Court will permit students who are enrolled in an academic tax clinic for credit and who are in good standing with the academic institution to participate in proceedings before the Court pursuant to the following procedures:
Sec. 4. Academic Clinic Contact Information
If these requirements are satisfied and an academic tax clinic is recognized by the Court, the Court will use stuffer letters to provide petitioners with specific contact information for the academic clinic.
Sec. 5. Termination of Recognition
The Court, in its discretion, may withdraw recognition of an academic tax clinic at any time, provided notice stating the cause for the loss of recognition is furnished to the academic clinic director. In such a case, counsel of record would be required to file a motion to withdraw, pursuant to Rule 24(c), Tax Court Rules of Practice and Procedure.