PHILIP C. COOK LOW-INCOME TAXPAYER CLINIC
GSU’s Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic is nationally recognized for its lawyer skills training.
The clinic serves the community by representing taxpayers who are unable to afford legal representation in federal income or employment tax disputes with the Internal Revenue Service.
Client eligibility depends on the individual’s financial situation, the tax controversy's elements, and the clinic's workload. Clinic officials decide whether the clinic will represent individuals, upon recommendation by the student attorney. The clinic generally handles only civil federal income or employment tax matters. Potential clients must provide information about their financial status.
Students enrolled in the clinic benefit from the class instruction and clinical experience gained in representing clients under the supervision of faculty and the clinic. Students develop professional judgment and gain practical experience in resolving taxpayer disputes and negotiating settlements with the Internal Revenue Service, assisted by a faculty member and a supervising attorney. Students interview clients, draft briefs, prepare cases for appeals conferences, appear at the conferences and in court, prepare offers-in-compromise and file petitions with the U.S. Tax Court. The clinic is not a tax course, but benefits those wanting to practice in taxation.
The Philip C. Cook Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic handles tax controversies involving civil federal income or employment taxes. The clinic does not handle refund suits that are filed in U.S. District Court or U.S. Claims Court, nor state or corporate tax issues. It also does not prepare tax returns.
The cases coming to the clinic usually fall into in one of the following four types:
Petitions to the U.S. Tax Court
Matters in Collections
The clinic serves the community by representing taxpayers who are unable to afford legal representation. Client eligibility depends on the individual’s financial situation, the tax controversy's elements, and the clinic's workload. Potential clients must provide information about their financial status.
Clinic officials decide whether the clinic will represent individuals, upon recommendation by the student attorney. The clinic generally handles only civil federal income or employment tax matters.
When the clinic will decline representation
- The clinic lacks expertise or time to handle the case;
- There is no economic effect on the taxpayer;
- The taxpayer has the ability to represent himself or herself or to obtain suitable paid representation; or
- Taxpayer is a group, corporation or association, unless the entity is primarily composed of persons eligible for clinic services and provides information that it lacks and cannot obtain funds to retain private counsel.
The clinic also may discontinue representation if an eligible client becomes ineligible through a change in circumstances. For example, the clinic may discontinue representation when the change in circumstances is likely to continue so that the client can afford private legal representation and discontinuation is not inconsistent with the attorney's professional responsibilities. Cases may be handled that if there are no suitable alternative resources available to the client but where there is significant potential harm to the client; immediate need for action; unusual and important educational issues involved, or other unusual and compelling circumstances.
For potential clients whose income is over the Federal Income Guidelines, the clinic shall consider current income prospects, extraordinary medical expenses, fixed debts or obligations, child care, transportation or other expenses necessary for employment, expenses associated with age or physical infirmity or other extraordinary factors that have a significant effect on the ability to obtain legal assistance.
Clinic policy considers assets, both liquid and non-liquid, of a person applying for clinic services. After considering the economy of the Atlanta area and the relative cost of living in Atlanta so as to ensure service availability to those in the greatest economic and legal need, the following factors also shall be considered:
- Liquid assets: Generally, liquid assets may not exceed the amount needed to provide for basic living needs;
- Non-liquid assets: Generally, the limit for the program shall be $25,000, which shall not include the principal residence of a taxpayer. The limit shall include all family assets but shall not include any family assets to which a taxpayer has no access;
- Neither asset limit shall include equity value in work-related equipment that is essential to the employment or self-employment of an individual or family member; and
- While special consideration is given to the needs of the elderly, institutionalized, and handicapped, the program does not adopt a separate assets limit for those groups.
For families/households with more than eight persons, add $10,800 for each additional person.
Amount in Controversy
If the student recommends that the clinic accept a case in which the amount in controversy exceeds the amount specified in IRC § 7463, the student must include the reasoning why the case merits the exception and obtain approval from from one of the clinic directors.
Conflict of Interest
Personal Tax Resources
IRS List of Paid Preparers
IRS launches Directory of Paid Federal Tax Return Preparers
The Internal Revenue Service launched a new, online public directory of tax return preparers. This searchable directory on IRS.gov will help taxpayers find a tax professional with credentials and select qualifications to help them prepare tax returns. These are paid preparers. We are providing a link to this list, but we do not endorse any of these preparers, nor have any further contact information about them or their qualifications.
Free tax preparation through a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site
Free Access to Tax Return Information
The IRS is now permitting taxpayers to access their own taxpayer return information online through its Get Transcript Online program. In order to use Get Transcript Online, taxpayers will need to have an e-mail address, a cellphone that can receive and send text messages, and specific information about their financial account. For more information about using Get Transcript Online, taxpayers can read an IRS FAQ. To use Get Transcript Online services, taxpayers may use the following link:
Contribuyentes y otros individuos interesados en obtener información pertinente a los servicios ofrecidos por la Clínica pueden comunicarse con la secretaria. Las horas de oficina son de lunes a viernes, de 9:00 a.m. a 5:00 p.m. La Clínica opera durante todo el año.
Aviso: Estas páginas contienen información que puede ser útil para comprender el proceso de la resolución de disputas de impuestos federales, pero bajo ninguna circunstancia se deben interpretar como consejo legal. Para cumplir con los requisitos establecidos por el Servicio de Impuestos Internos, es nuestra obligación notificarles que cualquier consejo para resolver problemas con sus impuestos federales contenido en estas páginas (incluyendo enlaces y anejos) no se ofrece, ni fué escrito con la intención, ni se puede utilizar con el propósito de (i) eludir penalidades bajo el Código del Servicio de Impuestos Internos, (ii) promover, mercadear o recomendarle a otro individuo ninguna transacción que resulte en eludir impuestos ó penalidades.
Para aquellas unidades de familia que tengan más de ocho miembros, añada $10,450 por cada miembro adicional.
Para propósitos de este programa, una unidad familiar se define como un individuo no relacionado ó una familia.
Un individuo no relacionado es una persona mayor de 15 años de edad que no está viviendo con personas relacionadas a él ó ella por nacimiento, por matrimonio ó por adopción.
La familia se define como un grupo de dos personas ó más relacionadas por nacimiento, matrimonio ó adopción que viven juntos. Pero, si estos individuos viven juntos, y la persona que está solicitando la asistencia es independiente financieramente, a ese individio se le puede tratar como una unidad familiar. Si dos individuos, no relacionados viven juntos, cada uno por separado constituye una unidad familiar.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources
200 Independence Avenue S.W.
Washington D.C. 20201
CONFLICTOS DE INTERES
Para evitar cualquier tipo de conflicto de interés, actual o percibido, la Clinica ha establecido ciertas normas. A fin de garantizar que el interés de un cliente potencial no conflige con el interés de un cliente actual, la Clínica verificará tanto con el prospecto, mediante una serie de preguntas, al igual que en su base de datos. Si se determina que existe un conflicto de interés, se le notificará al cliente potencial. Es posible que, bajos ciertas circunstancias, los conflictos se puedan resolver. Solo el Director de la Clinica, el Director Asociado y la Asistente al Director son capaces de proporcionar asesoramiento relacionados a conflictos potenciales.
|Tamaño de Unidad
Direcciones a la Clínica
La Clinica de Impuestos se encuentra en el edificio del Colegio de Leyes, en la esquina de Park Place NE y John Wesley Dobbs . La dirección fisica es 85 Park Place NE, Atlanta, GA 30303.
Instrucciones para encontrar la clinica:
The Philip C. Cook Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic esta localizada en el 85 Park Place NE, Atlanta, GA 30303.
I-75/I-85 de norte a sur, Salida 249-A (Courtland St.)
- Tome la salida 249-A – Courtland St., hacia la Universidad Estatal de Georgia;
- Siga la Calle Courtland NE por 0.3 de una milla
- Vire a la derecha en la Avenida Auburn NE y continúe 0.2 de una milla;
- Tome la segunda derecha en Park Place NE;
- El edificio se encontrará a la derecha.
I-75/I-85 del sur al norte, Salida 248-B (Edgewood Ave)
- Tome la salida 248-B – Edgewood Ave., hacia las Avenidas Auburn y J. W. Dobbs
- Continúe directo, cruzando la Ave. Edgewood, hasta la próxima esquina que es la Avenida Auburn
- Tome la izquierda en la Avenida Auburn;
- Continúe 0.6 de una milla y tome la derecha en Park Place NE
- El edificio se encontrará la derecha
I-20 hacia el oeste – Exit Number 56-B (Hill St.)
- Tome la salida 56-B (Hill St.) hacia Turner Field.
- Cuando tome la rampa, manténgase a la derecha para incorporarse a Hill St.
- Continue directo en Hill St., cruzando Memorial Drive y MLK Jr. Drive
- Hill St. se convierte en Bell St. y más adelante se convierte en Coca Cola Place.
- De Coca Cola Place tome la derecha en Jesse Hill Dr. SE (0.10 de una milla)
- Tome la izquierda en la Avenida Auburn (0.40 de una milla)
- Tome la derecha en Park Place NE.
- El edificio se encontrará a la derecha
I-20 hacia el este – Salida Num. 56-A (McDaniel Street)
- Tome la salida 56-A - McDaniel St. hacia Whitehall St. por 0.3 millas
- Vire a la izquierda en la calle McDaniel SW y continue por 0.10 millas
- Vire a la derecha en la calle Whitehall SW y continue 0.5 millas
- La calle Whitehall se convierte en Peachtree St. SW
- Manténgase en Peachtree St. SW – 0.8 de una milla
- Vire a la derecha en la Avenida Auburn NE por 0.06 de una milla
- Vire a la izquierda hacia Park Place NE
- El edificio se encontrará a la derecha
- Tome la ruta de Norte a Sur hasta la parada de Peachtree Center.
- Cuando salga de la estación, dirígijase al sur en Peachtree St NW hacia la calle Ellis NE
- Tome la izquierda en Houston St NE
- Vire a la derecha en Park Pl NE, el edificio esta localizado en en la esquina de Park Place y John Wesley Dobbs.
This is a one-semester, six credit-hour in-house clinic.
The clinic assigns live cases to students. They interact with clients under the supervision of the clinic’s director, associate director, assistant directors and supervising attorney. Class sessions cover substantive and procedural tax law, clinic administrative procedures and lawyering skills. During class sessions discussions of specific clients’ issues also take place.
Students meet weekly to discuss assigned cases with either the clinic director, associate director or supervising attorney. The associate director and supervising attorney’s offices are located within the clinic. They and the clinic director are available for consultation outside class sessions and scheduled weekly meetings.
Students completing the Clinic I course may register for the Clinic II course at the discretion of the director. Clinic II students are not required to attend most class sessions.
Students must successfully complete Basic Tax (Law 7095) and earn an overall GPA of C+ or better before registering. After registering for the clinic course, forward the following information to the clinic staff via e-mail or stop by the clinic.
- Professional Judgment
- Recognition and Resolution of Ethical Dilemmas
- Factual investigation
- Client Relations
- Brief Writing
- Problem solving
- Legal analysis
- Legal research
- Practice and Time Management
- Affordable Care act
- amended Returns
- Business Expense Deductions
- Child Tax Credit
- Debt Forgiveness
- Disputed Debt Doctrine
- Earned Income Tax Credit
- First-Time Homebuyer Credit
- Filing Status
- Identity Theft
- Injured Spouse
- Innocent Spouse
- Math Error Notice Rights
- Refund Claims
- Resident and Non-Resident Aliens
- Social Security Lump Sum Payments
- Self Employment Taxes
- Self Employment Uber & Lyft Drivers
- Trust Fund Recovery
- Administrative 30-day Letter
- Statutory Notice of Deficiency
- Statutory Notice and Demand
- Statutory Lien
- Collection of Tax
- Statutory Notice of Lien
- Statutory Notice of Levy
- Statutory Notices of Liens and Levies
- Statutory Notice of Determination Innocent Spouse Relief
- Suspension of Statute of Limitations
- Credits or Refunds
- Frivolous Hearing Requests
- Special Tax Considerations for Veterans
- FAQs for Filing Amended Returns for Disabled Veterans
- Limitations on Collections
- Refund Claims
Because the clinic is a 6 credit course, you will be expected to "bill" a total of 170 "billable hours" for the term. Please note that to receive full-credit for meeting the billable hours requirement, 85 of these hours must be completed at the point of your mid-term review. Time spent in class (including case round discussions), your weekly meeting with your supervising attorney, preparing for class, updating your files in Clio, maintaining the paperwork in your files, and doing assigned reading is not applied toward that time commitment and should not be recorded in the case management software, although all work that you directly perform on a case should be recorded in case management software as billable time. During the first couple of weeks of the term, you will probably have to work more than the average number of hours in order to familiarize yourself with your cases, but you can apply those excess hours to the total number of hours required during the term. In addition, you are expected to complete the Assigned Reading and the iCollege Modules assigned to you for the semester.
Some students will spend more time on clinic work than others because of differences among them in knowledge, time management skills, or concern and sympathy for clients. Work will expand to fit the time allotted to it, so students must manage their time efficiently. The clinic's resources assist students in completing tasks. The clinic staff helps students manage caseloads through instruction, prioritization and reassignment, if necessary. Students benefit because they learn these skills in an actual law firm setting without assuming ultimate responsibility for billable time.
The clinic course is unlike a traditional law school course. Competition is discouraged. Students are not graded relative to how their peers perform. Students are expected to cooperate by helping each other with client matters and by sharing knowledge. There is no grading curve. Thus, if every student performs well, all grades will reflect such performance.
The clinic evaluates students on the following:
- Professionalism and Ethics – exercising sound professional judgment; interacting appropriately with clients, IRS personnel, fellow students and staff; appropriate dress when necessary, and adherence to clinic administrative and other procedures including meeting all deadlines;
- Quality of service to clients;
- Accuracy and thoroughness of written documents and memoranda;
- Progress of cases;
- Success in resolving cases including timely closing of cases;
- Class participation, clinic involvement, and meeting the clinic hours requirement
Any student who has questions about his or her level of performance is encouraged to confer with the clinic director, associate director or supervising attorney for clarification.
The clinic handles tax controversies involving civil federal income or employment taxes. The clinic does not handle refund suits filed in U.S. District Court or U.S. Claims Court, nor state or corporate tax issues. It also does not prepare tax returns.
The clinic director, associate director or supervising attorney assigns cases. They usually fall under one of these five stages:
- Taxpayer received an administrative notice.
- Taxpayer received a statutory notice.
- Taxpayer filed a petition with the U.S. Tax Court pursuant to the “small case” procedure and seeks help with either a settlement or litigation.
- Taxpayer paid the tax and seeks to institute a refund suit in a district court or the Court of Federal Claims. In this situation, the taxpayer may have bypassed the opportunity for administrative appeal or has not filed a petition in U.S. Tax Court. The clinic does not file refund suits, but Legal Aid may do so.
- Taxpayer failed to respond to administrative or statutory notices, tax has been assessed, and the matter has been transferred to collections. This type of case will be accepted where there is a substantive tax issue involved or where tax equity dictates it.
Many individuals who contact the clinic experience not only significant tax problems, but also other legal or personal problems. These other problems may relate to unemployment, substance abuse, spousal abuse, child abuse, illiteracy, and medical and emotional issues. A student attorney should recognize the presence of these issues, but not attempt to resolve them. You should respect the client's privacy and exercise caution so as not to offend the client by questioning him about suspected nontax problems, but you should prepare to refer your client to an appropriate social service agency.
The clinic maintains a list of agencies to meet the needs of Atlanta-area residents. One of the clinic directors should be consulted before a referral is made to an agency. Document the referral in writing with the agency's name and telephone number, disclaim any affiliation with the agency, and refrain from guaranteeing results. If a referral is made, write a memo to the client’s case file describing the circumstances.
During subsequent conversations with the client, you should avoid questioning him or her about the referral's outcome.
Faculty & Staff
W. Edward ‘Ted’ Afield, Clinic Director, Philip C. Cook Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic
Ronald W. Blasi, Founder, Philip C. Cook Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic
Susan R. Boltacz, KPMG
Kimberly E. Civins, Harrison & Held, LLP
Philip C. Cook, Alston & Bird, Retired
Cassandra S. Bradford, Chamberlain Hrdlicka
Tameka E. Lester, Associate Dean for Student Success Programs & Strategic Enrollment Management
Mark S. Mesler, EY
Everett L. Morris, IV, Morris Legal & Tax, LLC
Kelly Smith, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
Conner Watts, Supervising Attorney, Philip C. Cook Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic
Jason Wiggam, The Wiggam Law Firm
Emily Yaun, Assistant Clinical Professor, Philip C. Cook Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic
P.O. Box 4037
Atlanta, GA 30302-4037
85 Park Place NE
Atlanta, GA 30303