LAWM LOW INCOME TAX CLINIC
Finding there was a need among our clients for tax representation, Legal Aid of Western Michigan (LAWM) established a Low Income Tax Clinic in 2016. Low Income Tax Clinics offer free legal advice or representation to financially eligible low income taxpayers and English as a second language taxpayers in federal tax controversies with the IRS.
These controversies may include audits to adjust the amount of taxes allegedly owed, “innocent spouse” cases, and assistance with collection. Low income Tax Clinics also provide legal education and outreach about tax issues to low income and ESL taxpayers as well as groups who work with low income and ESL taxpayers.
One important issue that our Tax Clinic is working on is that taxpayers who owe the IRS may now find themselves dealing with a private debt collector for past due IRS debt. The IRS recently authorized four private debt collectors—CBE, ConServe, Performant, and Pioneer—to collect on its behalf. Fortunately, there are ways to have the IRS debt removed from the private debt collector so we can set up an appropriate repayment plan or settlement directly with IRS.
It is important to have a taxpayer contact us if a private debt collector is collecting on an IRS debt.
We are also especially interested in working with VITA clinics to coordinate referrals and address systemic issues we are seeing with low-income taxpayers.