The Tax Clinic at the UConn School of Law gives free legal help to low-income taxpayers with tax problems involving the Internal Revenue Service or the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services. Law students enrolled in the clinic work with the clinic faculty to represent more than 100 clients each year.
Services for the Public
The Tax Clinic can help taxpayers who meet income guidelines and are experiencing problems with tax refunds, tax audits, back taxes and United States Tax Court petitions. The Tax Clinic does not help people prepare and file tax returns but can refer clients to free non-profit services that may be able to help them.
More Information for the Public
The Tax Clinic can help you with the following kinds of problems:
- I did not get my refund. If you filed a tax return and claimed certain deductions or credits, such as the Earned Income Credit, and the IRS or DRS has not paid you your refund, contact the Tax Clinic to see if we can help. You may also contact the local Taxpayer Advocate Service at (860) 594-9100.
- My tax return is being audited: The IRS or DRS has told you that they are reviewing your income tax return or they plan on making changes that increases the tax you owe, or reduces your refund.
- I have not filed past years tax returns: You have not filed tax returns for one or more years and need some help filing them and paying any taxes that may be owed. The Tax Clinic does not prepare tax returns but, if you qualify, we can refer you to an organization that may be able to prepare your returns for free or at low cost.
- I owe taxes: You have been getting bills from the IRS or DRS and want help in determining your payment options.
- I want to petition the Tax Court or I have filed a Tax Court petition: If you want to file a petition with the United States Tax Court or you have filed a petition on your own, we can represent you before the Tax Court. If you have a trial date, contact the Tax Clinic immediately to see if we can help.
- I overpaid taxes and want to claim a refund. You paid federal taxes but now believe you overpaid. We can represent you with a refund claim before the IRS and/or the United States District Court.
The Tax Clinic can help you with Connecticut (DRS) tax problems if you also have an IRS tax problem.
The Tax Clinic does not help people prepare and file returns. However, we can refer you to a pro bono (free) non-profit accounting organization, Community Accounting Aid & Services, Inc. or, if you need a tax return prepared during the regular filing season, we can direct you to a volunteer income tax assistance (VITA) site.
If owe taxes after you get a tax return prepared and filed, we can counsel you on your payment options. If you think you qualify for our assistance, please contact us.
FAQ for the Public
How do I know if I qualify for the free legal services of the Tax Clinic?
Generally, your current annual income must meet certain guidelines (see below) and the amount of tax and penalties that the IRS or DRS says you owe for each year must not be more than $50,000.
To qualify for our services, you and your family's income must be at or below the following amounts:
|Size of Family||Income Not Greater than:|
If your family size is more than eight (8) persons, add $10,800 for each additional member.
How do I make an appointment?
To make an appointment for an initial meeting, call (860) 570-5165. Response time depends on the amount of work that the Tax Clinic has. Generally, we try to return your call within 24 to 48 hours and to set up an appointment within a week of your request.
When will I know if the Tax Clinic takes my case?
After you have met with someone from the Tax Clinic, the director will review your case and decide in 7 to 10 days whether the Tax Clinic can help you. We will look at:
- The type of problems you have;
- The amount of time we think will be required to help you;
- Whether you are willing and able to help us with your case (such as getting documents and attending meetings); and
- Whether your case is something we have experience in handling.
We will notify you in writing whether we decide to represent you.
How long will it take to solve my problem?
This is a very difficult question to answer. It depends on whether you have the papers necessary for us to understand your problem and to prove your case to the IRS. It also depends on how much help you can give us with your case. We will work very hard to research and investigate your problem in a timely manner, meet with you to discuss your options, and to represent you before the IRS or DRS in a timely manner.
What if English is not my first language?
The Tax Clinic can help clients for whom English is a second language by arranging an interpreter or translator. Languages that the Tax Clinic generally supports are Spanish, French and Polish.
Contact the Tax Clinic
University of Connecticut School of Law Tax Clinic
65 Elizabeth Street, Hartford, CT 06105
Phone: (860) 570-5165
Fax: (860) 570-5195
The Tax Clinic has been working to provide free legal representation to low-income taxpayers, many of whom earned income as contractors and ended up facing tax penalties because they didn’t understand and follow the rules.
I was amazed at the spectrum of issues our Tax Clinic clients faced. Within weeks of enrollment, I was applying a wide range of substantive and procedural tax law to my clients’ needs. We worked on challenging cases.
– Brennan Price ’04
Students in the this clinic represent low-income taxpayers at various stages of tax controversies with the Internal Revenue Service and the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services. Students handle all phases of client representation, including interviewing and counseling, fact investigation, advocating before IRS and Connecticut Department of Revenue Services auditors, negotiating with the appeals and collections divisions of those agencies, and conducting trials before the United States Tax Court. Classroom seminars use actual clinic cases and other materials to explore the tactical, ethical, and substantive and procedural law problems faced by legal practitioners. Students also participate, in addition to weekly seminars, in regular tutorial meetings to discuss casework. Casework requires a significant time commitment, generally 10-15 hours per week. This is a one semester clinic, but students have the opportunity to continue their work in subsequent semesters through Advanced Fieldwork.