Project Spotlight
Low Income Taxpayer Clinic

May 15, 2017 – The Low Income Taxpayer Clinic resolves conflicts between the IRS and taxpayers as well as provides assistance to English as a second language taxpayers.  The Clinic represents income-eligible taxpayers in Palm Beach County undergoing a tax controversy, free of charge.

The Clinic is staffed by Supervising Attorney Michael Bacigalupi and Taxpayer Advocate Rick Collier.  On average they represent at least 80 clients and give consultations to another 300 people annually.  The Clinic is funded by a grant from the Taxpayer Advocate Service, a branch of the Internal Revenue Service.

Many of the Clinic’s clients are walk-ins. The Clinic also receives referrals from the Internal Revenue Service, Taxpayer Advocate Service, and other community organizations.  Clients face many issues including audits, identity theft, tax preparer misconduct (the preparer files improper deductions or steals the taxpayer rebate for themselves) or issues from tax liens or levy of a client’s social security/wages.

One of the biggest challenges the Taxpayer Clinic faces is getting their clients past their fear of the IRS and their fear of seeking help, especially in victimized communities.  Their biggest goal is to eliminate their clients’ fear by them representation against the IRS in court, and assisting them with collection alternatives.  In many instances they work to reduce the amount the client owes, which also reduces waste by the IRS who can spend endless hours trying to collect a debt that they won’t get because the taxpayer cannot afford to pay it. 

The Clinic is seeking to add to their panel of Pro Bono Attorneys and Certified Public Accountants.  These attorneys and CPA’s can donate their time by taking cases.  Attorneys are also needed to go to court and represent low income taxpayers at the US Tax Court Calendar Call Program.  A third way attorneys can assist is by attending the Low Income Tax Payer Settlement Days, an event in partnership with Legal Services of Greater Miami and St. Thomas University, to represent clients attempting to settle cases that are set for trial.  If you would like to help, please contact Kim Rommel-Enright at (561)655-8944, ext. 265.