The Federal Tax Law Clinic immerses students in cases involving disputes between the IRS and low-income taxpayers in New Jersey. The IRS national office and the U.S. Tax Court have approved the appearance of clinic students in IRS proceedings and before the Tax Court. Student lawyers represent clients in every aspect of the tax controversy, including interviewing and counseling, conducting factual and legal research, negotiating with the IRS, conducting Tax Court trials and assisting clients facing IRS collection activity.
The clinic addresses a number of different tax law issues, including unreported tip income, cancellation of indebtedness income, eligibility for earned income credit, dependency exemptions and head of household filing status, taxability of a lawsuit settlement, availability of innocent spouse relief, negligence and other penalties, status as employee or independent contractor, and numerous issues relating to IRS collection activity. Clinic students also help the American Friends Service Committee in its outreach to the immigrant community on tax matters. The weekly clinic seminar combines instruction in tax law with training in professional skills and ethical standards. The seminar includes presentations by private tax and immigration lawyers and by local IRS representatives in the area counsel’s office, Taxpayer Advocate’s office, and in the Examination, Appeals, Collection and Disclosure Divisions. Students also engage in simulation exercises involving client interviewing and counseling, motion practice, negotiation with an IRS appeals officer and a mock Tax Court trial.