The work at the clinic is hands-on and heartwarming and I am gaining useful legal experience while doing it.
— Stephen C., J,D, and Tax Clinic Student

About the Federal Tax Clinic

The Federal Tax Clinic helps low-income individuals throughout Western Washington resolve disputes with the Internal Revenue Service. The clinic offers this assistance as a public service and as a means of training law students in tax practice. The Tax Clinic has added a pro bono panel of volunteer attorneys to assist the growing number of low-income taxpayers who have disputes with the IRS. There are currently 15 volunteer attorneys on the panel. In 2023, the clinic closed cases that decreased tax liabilities, penalties and interest by $4,159,508 for taxpayers.

Projects

Each student and volunteer attorney is the first chair attorney for their case. Students do not generally work in teams but are responsible for their own cases.

The Clinic represents clients at all levels of the IRS, from examination to appeals and collections and in the federal courts. Most cases are resolved administratively.

The Clinic had two reported cases in the United States Tax Court in recent years. In Roberts v. Commissioner, 141 T.C. No.19 (2013), the Tax Court found that the taxpayer’s ex-wife withdrew funds from his IRA without his consent. The Court held that even though the taxpayer was the owner of the IRA, because he did not request, receive or benefit from the IRA distributions, he should not be taxed on the withdrawal. In Bogart v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2014-46, the Court held that the IRS abused its discretion in failing to address the equitable grounds raised by the taxpayers in their collection due process hearing.

Note: The clinic does not generally provide tax return preparation.

By separately applying to enroll in LAW T 506 Tax Practice and Skills, many Tax Clinic students also spend one week in February preparing tax returns for villagers in rural Alaska. This tax preparation program is sponsored by the Alaska Business Development Corporation and the Graduate Program in Taxation at the UW School of Law. In 2024, 15 communities were served by 20 UW Law students participating in the Rural Alaskan Tax Program.

Related Publications

Scott Schumacher, faculty director, is the co-author of the book Tax Crimes, published by LexisNexis. See Schumacher’s other published works.

In the ABA’s 9th edition of Effectively Representing Your Client Before the IRS, Ramón E. Ortiz-Vélez, managing director, is co-author of Chapter 33: “Understanding the Intersection of Taxation and Immigration.

Federal Tax Clinic News

Federal Tax Clinic celebrates multiple victories from student work on cases Law Student Spotlight: Erick Quezada (Tax LL.M.) Federal Tax clinic posts huge year for clients Clinic delivers for veteran after battle with IRS Federal Tax Clinic assists low-income individuals resolve IRS disputes