It’s sometimes thought that people with low incomes simply don’t make enough money to get into serious trouble with their taxes. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case at all. Since our tax system is based on voluntary reporting and self-determined withholdings, the fact is that one little mistake can easily spiral out of control into an enormous problem. An unexpected tax bill is unpleasant for everyone, to be sure, but clearly an ability to quickly pay that bill is preferable to the alternative. Fortunately, the IRS provides matching grants of up to $100,000 per year to fund Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs), which are organizations that represent taxpayers, free of charge, in disputes with the IRS. An LITC can be a clinical program at an accredited law, business, or accounting school, or it can be part of an organization described in Internal Revenue Code (IRC) § 501(c) and exempt from tax under IRC § 501(a). In order to qualify for assistance from an LITC, a taxpayer’s income and the amount in dispute must both be below certain thresholds.
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