Students Taking on Cases in Spokane and Around the Country
On Monday, a group of Gonzaga Law students will be stepping up to help unrepresented taxpayers with cases in front of the United States Tax Court that is visiting Spokane from Washington, D.C. with the Honorable Judge Joel Gerber presiding. The students, along with the clients of the Tax Clinic, also have access to a new videoconferencing system, installed and paid for by the Internal Revenue Service, that connects the Federal Tax Clinic in University Legal Assistance to a variety of IRS offices throughout the country, including the Taxpayer Advocate Service and IRS Appeals.
Helping Pro Se Taxpayers
During the Tax Court session in Spokane next week, the students will be available to help taxpayers representing themselves in cases against the IRS. Students have been working on three cases slated for this tax court session, and one case is scheduled for trial on Wednesday, October 30th. While these three cases have been in the works for months, students will also be available to help taxpayers the day of court whether or not they fit within the income guidelines prescribed by the tax clinic’s grant funding. This help includes everything from answering basic questions to negotiating settlements and even conducting trial.
Supporting a Variety of Cases
Students in the Federal Tax Clinic represent taxpayers with cases in front of the IRS and in the United States Tax Court. Supported by a grant from the IRS and administered by the National Taxpayer Advocate office, which is responsible for ensuring that taxpayers are fairly represented, the cases of Spokane and Eastern Washington residents are heard in offices throughout the country via the teleconferencing system.
The Seattle IRS campus handles most IRS cases involving taxpayers in the Spokane area. However, the Seattle campus is overloaded, and the IRS has been reassigning cases to other campuses, ranging from Memphis, TN to Fresno, CA to Holtsville, NY. The videoconferencing system connects student representatives and taxpayers face-to-face with the IRS, which helps humanize clients and lead to more positive outcomes.
Connections for Local Taxpayers and Students
In addition to connecting the Federal Tax Clinic to the IRS, the new conferencing system will serve two additional purposes. Any local taxpayer will be able to make an appointment to use the system to carry out meetings with IRS campuses across the country. Gonzaga Law’s externship program will also be utilizing the new system to help a Spokane student gain experience in tax law by allowing a Seattle IRS attorney to supervise an externship in the Spokane office.
Requesting Free Legal Assistance
The Gonzaga Federal Tax Clinic represents individuals in disputes with the Internal Revenue Service and in the United States Tax Court. If taxpayers in Spokane need assistance with a tax dispute, they can request an application by calling 509-313-5971 or 1-800-793-1722.