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Prof. Elizabeth Maresca
Clinical Associate Professor of Law,
Tax Clinic                             

AN INVESTIGATION BY THE IRS IS UNSETTLING for even the most sophisticated taxpayer.  It's even more difficult for low to moderate income taxpayers to navigate the puzzle of an IRS audit.

If you're interested in learning about tax law, while helping clients who need professional guidance, then consider the Tax Clinic.

Although students are under the supervision of attorney-professors, you are expected to take primary responsibility for all aspects of their cases.  This may include interviewing and counseling clients; gathering and analyzing facts and evidence;  conducting legal research; drafting memoranda; preparing pleadings, motions and other court papers, and meeting with the IRS to negotiate a settlement. If settlement efforts fail, the student may have the opportunity to take the case to trial.

Students do not need to have extensive experience with tax law to enroll and succeed in this Clinic.  Through the seminar and supervision, you will be given the tools necessary to advocate on behalf of your clients.  This Clinic provides legal representation only.   We do not prepare tax returns, provide bookkeeping or other accounting services. 

 Client Representation

Students represent clients who have legal disputes with the IRS or NYS Department of Taxation. These cases are usually in litigation or pre-litigation administrative disputes, such as audits, examinations and refund claims. These cases address a number of issues, including identity theft, dependency exemptions, the Earned Income Tax Credit, other family credits, innocent spouse relief, stolen refunds, and small business issues. The amounts at stake often exceed 40% of the client's annual income.

 Small Business and Small Business Owner Tax Planning

Proper tax planning can significantly reduce tax burdens and decrease exposure to a costly and time consuming tax audit. Students will collaborate with small business owners in crafting tax efficient business strategies.

 Systemic Client Advocacy

The IRS interacts on a regular basis with low to moderate income workers and small business owners. Students in the Clinic will advocate for these individuals at the Agency level by commenting on regulations and providing comments and critiques of IRS procedures that affect our client base.

 Tax Clinic Clients

Our clients are day care providers, home-health care aides, barbers, nurses, waiters, store clerks and small business owners; many are single parents. They often lack English literacy skills and most have too little or no ability to defend themselves against the IRS.