Low Income Tax Clinic provides IRS tax solutions

Legal Aid’s Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) helps people who have low income or speak English as a second language with IRS tax disputes. While we don’t prepare taxes, we can help with issues involving IRS action or debt. Most commonly clients come to us after they have received a notice from the IRS alerting them to some kind of tax liability, or when the IRS starts taking collection action such as garnishing wages or placing a lien on a property.

People can turn to the LITC for information and advocacy on tax issues. These include reducing or eliminating your tax debt, stopping IRS collection action, providing representation in US Tax Court, advocating for an audit reconsideration, addressing identity theft problems, or helping get some of your refund back that was taken for a spouse’s debt, among others.

We partner with other legal aid organizations and government and community partners across the state of Minnesota, including the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, Minnesota Justice Foundation, University of Minnesota Law Clinics, Volunteer Lawyers Network, Taxpayer Advocate Service, Minnesota Department of Revenue, Prepare + Prosper and other VITA and TCE tax preparation service providers, Brian Coyle Center, and the City of Minneapolis.

Ensuring clients received their stimulus checks

Many low-income Minnesotans had to take extra steps in order to receive the stimulus checks they were entitled to under the CARES Act of March 2020.

“Many of our clients are vulnerable seniors, unemployed, on general assistance, or dealing with housing instability,” says Assistant Supervising Attorney Aisha Servaty. “Stimulus payments might represent multiple months’ worth of income for our clients.”

Legal Aid’s Low-Income Tax Clinic (LITC) is one of the only organizations in the state guiding low-income people through the IRS’s non-filer form to receive economic stimulus payments. The LITC team helped clients go to the IRS website, fill out the form, and submit it. They walked them through from start to finish, including a follow-up to see if they were accepted or rejected.

“We got flooded with inquiries within the first week,” Servaty says. “We initially had 78 intakes, and it grew from there.”

Twenty Legal Aid staff from other units stepped in to help the LITC unit, each taking a case or two or three. In addition, Servaty added two full-time staff attorneys and two law clerks to help with the effort. Six pro bono volunteer attorneys also took cases. By November, the team had assisted nearly 550 people with securing their stimulus checks.

“Without help most of these people would definitely not have received payments.” Servaty says.

With this cycle of economic impact payments complete, LITC is ready to assist in the future should Congress pass additional funding measures.

Resources

LITC: Helping you with IRS tax issues

Download a copy of the LITC Brochure and find additional resources
on tax law topics at www.lawhelpmn.org