About the Tax Clinic and its Mission
The Tax Clinic is supported by funding it receives from a variety of sources, including the IRS, the Law College, the State Bar of Michigan Taxation Section, corporations, law firms, and individuals. This program is approved by the State Bar of Michigan as an entity eligible to receive pro bono contributions from attorneys. The Clinic is grateful for the support it has received in the past, and looks forward to receiving additional funding from new donors to expand its critical services.
The Tax Clinic's mission statement capsulate its work:
Low Income Taxpayer Clinic ensure the fairness and integrity of the tax system for taxpayers who are low income or speak English as a second language (ESL). We accomplish our mission by:
- Providing pro bono representation on the taxpayers' behalf in tax disputes with the IRS;
- Educating taxpayers about their rights and responsibilities; and
- Identifying and advocating for issues that impact low income taxpayers.
Low Income Taxpayer Clinic Grant Program (taken from the IRS website)
Every taxpayer has a right to have access to representation. The Low Income Taxpayer Clinic Grant Program is designed, as a result of the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998, to help accredited academic institutions and non profit organizations provide low to no cost tax assistance (such as representing the taxpayer during an audit or tax collection effort) and/or tax outreach to taxpayers for whom English is a second language.
LITCs receive partial funding from the IRS. However, clinics and their volunteers are completely independent of and are not associated with the federal government. Nonprofit organizations, law schools or business schools operate the clinics. Each clinic independently determines if you meet its income guidelines and other criteria before it agrees to represent you. Low income taxpayers may also receive assistance from attorney referral systems operated by state bar associations, local societies of accountants, and other nonprofit tax professional organizations.
The clinics provide representation, tax education and outreach to low income taxpayer with federal tax disputes and taxpayers who speak English as a Second Language.
Statement on inclusion and anti-racism
Pursuant to Michigan Court Rule 6.5:
(a) A lawyer shall treat with courtesy and respect all persons involved in the legal process. A lawyer shall take particular care to avoid treating such a person discourteously or disrespectfully because of the person’s race, gender, or other protected personal characteristic. To the extent possible, a lawyer shall require subordinate lawyers and nonlawyer assistants to provide such courteous and respectful treatment. (b) A lawyer serving as an adjudicative officer shall, without regard to a person’s race, gender, or other protected personal characteristic, treat every person fairly, with courtesy and respect. To the extent possible, the lawyer shall require staff and others who are subject to the adjudicative officer’s direction and control to provide such fair, courteous, and respectful treatment to persons who have contact with the adjudicative tribunal.
Comment: Duties of the Lawyer. A lawyer is an officer of the court who has sworn to uphold the federal and state constitutions, to proceed only by means that are truthful and honorable, and to avoid offensive personality. It follows that such a professional must treat clients and third persons with courtesy and respect. For many citizens, contact with a lawyer is the first or only contact with the legal system. Respect for law and for legal institutions is diminished whenever a lawyer neglects the obligation to treat persons properly. It is increased when the obligation is met. A lawyer must pursue a client’s interests with diligence. This often requires the lawyer to frame questions and statements in bold and direct terms. The obligation to treat persons with courtesy and respect is not inconsistent with the lawyer’s right, where appropriate, to speak and write bluntly. Obviously, it is not possible to formulate a rule that will clearly divide what is properly challenging from what is impermissibly rude. A lawyer’s professional judgment must be employed here with care and discretion. A lawyer must take particular care to avoid words or actions that appear to be improperly based upon a person’s race, gender, or other protected personal characteristic. Legal institutions, and those who serve them, should take leadership roles in assuring equal treatment for all. Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct 95 Last Updated 9/3/2021 A judge must act “[a]t all times” in a manner that promotes public confidence in the impartiality of the judiciary. Canon 2(B) of the Code of Judicial Conduct. See also Canon 5. By contrast, a lawyer’s private conduct is largely beyond the scope of these rules. See Rule 8.4. However, a lawyer’s private conduct should not cast doubt on the lawyer’s commitment to equal justice under law. A supervisory lawyer should make every reasonable effort to ensure that subordinate lawyers and nonlawyer assistants, as well as other agents, avoid discourteous or disrespectful behavior toward persons involved in the legal process. Further, a supervisory lawyer should make reasonable efforts to ensure that the firm has in effect policies and procedures that do not discriminate against members or employees of the firm on the basis of race, gender, or other protected personal characteristic.