Students in the Federal Tax Clinic represent low-income taxpayers in controversies with the IRS, both before the IRS and in federal court. Students will work individually and in teams to represent taxpayers involving examinations, administrative appeals, collection matters and cases before the United States Tax Court and Federal District Courts. Students will represent taxpayers with the goal of maximizing financial wellbeing and protecting taxpayer rights, including securing refunds and credits to which taxpayers are entitled, providing relief from joint and several liability for innocent spouses, and reducing tax liabilities through successful negotiated resolutions or compromises of liabilities based upon taxpayer financial hardship.
The Clinic provides a singular opportunity to have extensive client contact, to conduct fact investigation and legal research, and to develop, present, and argue cases on behalf of vulnerable taxpayers who would otherwise not have access to justice. Because the Clinic teaches lawyering skills applicable across numerous practice areas, students are encouraged to enroll whether they have an existing interest in tax law and practice or simply seek an immersive law practice experience through which they can learn valuable skills and provide pro bono representation to those in need.
In addition to representing local clients, the Clinic looks to comment on proposed rules and regulations impacting low income taxpayers, and it looks to litigate broadly on issues impacting this community. The Clinic is currently litigating whether the Tax Court has the ability to equitably toll the time frame for filing a Tax Court petition. It represents clients in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 10th Circuits that the Tax Court dismissed as untimely despite the fact that the taxpayers filed late based upon oral and written statements made by the IRS regarding the last day to file. The Clinic has also filed amicus briefs on this issue with the Tax Court and the 9th Circuit and amicus briefs on other issues as well.
How to Register
The Federal Tax Clinic is offered in the Fall and Spring semester. You can learn about the required clinical course component, clinical credits, additional requirements, and the clinical registration process, by reading the course catalog description and exploring the links in this section.
In the News
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My experience at HLS’s Federal Tax ClinicContinue Reading about My experience at HLS’s Federal Tax Clinic
I am a tax lawyer, hailing from India. I did my first law degree in India and worked there for four years with a law firm prior to coming to Harvard. While many factors went in to my decision to do my LL.M. this year, the primary one was to gain a different experience by placing myself in unfamiliar situations.
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Helping low-income clients navigate the IRSContinue Reading about Helping low-income clients navigate the IRS
Many of the students who enroll in the Clinic have a deep interest in tax law. Others are not committed to a tax law career but are curious about a topic so central to the social safety net and have an interest in exploring public service law careers. Still others are motivated by a desire to deepen their understanding of administrative law practice and/or hone their appellate advocacy skills.
Faculty and Staff
Federal Tax Clinic
WilmerHale Legal Services Center
122 Boylston Street
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
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