Fordham Law

$100K Grant to Fund Fordham Law Tax Clinic Work

February 27, 2008

Fordham Law School's Tax Clinic is one of the most long-standing in New York City. Handling and consulting upon cases of identity theft, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) audits, and credit scrutiny, among others, the program serves as a model to clinics around the nation.
This year, the Clinic has been awarded a $100,000 IRS Low Income Taxpayer Grant. The matching grant will support the work being done in the Law School's Tax Clinic program to represent low-income taxpayers.

According to Associate Clinical Professor Elizabeth Maresca, the purpose of the grant is to provide funding for representation of individudals who qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and are involved in federal tax disputes.

While the EITC was established to lift low-income workers from poverty, many are denied the credit money and are audited by the IRS each year that they file.

"There are tens of thousands of individuals in this country who are stuck in the audit cycle," said Maresca. "Due to the high level of scrutiny associated with the EITC, families that do qualify for the credit have claims that are initially rejected. After an initial rejection, even if the rejection was erroneous, these individuals are denied the credit money every year thereafter. The resulting battle with the IRS can take years to resolve and many are not resolved until law suits are brought in multiple courts."

Maresca added that the EITC check can represent about 40% of a typical client's annual gross income, and many of the individuals represented by the Clinic are not native English speakers.

"This grant will allow for the Clinic to continue this important work that continues to make an enormous difference in the financial lives of our clients," Maresca said. "It will allow us to provide legal representation and support to those who would otherwise not have the resources to fight the IRS."

Since the Grant's inception in 1998, the US Treasury Department has only awarded the maximum $100,000 matching grant a handful of times, and did not give any grants of this value in 2007.

For more information on the IRS Low Income Taxpayer Clinic Grant, visit,,id=108540,00.html.

Contact: Jennifer Spencer, 212.636.7604