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UW Opens Low Income Taxpayer Clinic

FILE - This July 24, 2018, file photo shows a portion of the 1040 U.S. Individual Income Tax...
FILE - This July 24, 2018, file photo shows a portion of the 1040 U.S. Individual Income Tax Return form. It’s the time of year to start thinking about taxes - what's ahead and what can be done now to manage. But the upcoming tax filing season is going to be trickier for many Americans due to rampant unemployment, working from home and general upheaval due to COVID-19. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)(Mark Lennihan | AP)
Published: Mar. 30, 2022 at 12:08 AM CDT
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - As tax season approaches its peak, a new clinic dedicated to consulting and representing taxpayers has opened in the University of Wyoming College of Business’ Department of Accounting and Finance.

The Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) was created this spring as part of a federal grant program administered by the IRS.

The LITC is part of a nationwide network that seeks to unite independent organizations under a shared mission to provide representation, education and advocacy for individual taxpayers who are low-income or speak English as a second language. Although the LITC receives partial funding from the IRS, the clinic is entirely independent of the IRS.

Previously, Wyoming had been one of four states without an LITC. UW’s clinic will serve residents of Wyoming whose incomes are generally at or below 250 percent of the federal poverty guideline and seek to resolve tax problems with the IRS, such as audits, appeals and tax collection disputes. Income guidelines do not apply to taxpayers who seek consultation services.

Students from the College of Law and College of Business will partner to educate taxpayers about their rights and responsibilities and identify and advocate for issues that impact these taxpayers. The LITC uses an expert panel of tax controversy lawyers from Holland & Hart, in Jackson, to provide taxpayers pro bono representation in their disputes.

“Tax issues can affect anyone, and achieving a correct outcome in an IRS dispute should not be dependent on someone’s ability to pay for representation,” says UW Associate Professor Nicole Choi, the founder and director of the program at UW. “We want to ensure that all taxpayers obtain fair results within the tax system and empower them to exercise all of their rights, regardless of income level.”

This new program will work alongside the longstanding Albany County Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. VITA -- a partnership between the College of Business’ Department of Accounting and Finance and the United Way -- assists individuals in preparing and filing federal and state income tax returns.

In 2020, LITCs represented 19,413 taxpayers nationally and secured more than $5.8 million in refunds in disputes. They were responsible for bringing more than 2,900 individuals back into payment compliance.

Interested clients or partners seeking more information should email litc@uwyo.edu or call (307) 766-6114. Appointments are available virtually as well as in person.

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