Low Income Taxpayer Clinic Updates

The Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) provides free need-based legal representation in federal tax matters, specializing in client controversies with the IRS.

LITC Students Assist in Stimulus Payment Equity

Lewis & Clark Law students at the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic are providing assistance to incarcerated individuals who never received stimulus payments. The issue was first brought to the clinic’s attention by Professor Aliza Kaplan, who directs the Criminal Justice Reform Clinic. Jordan Hartman ’22 handled the bulk of intakes and representation for these cases, but as word spread about this assistance, the increased number of cases are now delegated broadly among all of the LITC students.

To date, the LITC has helped more than 60 clients; so far, clients have received about $20,000. The clinic will continue to help these individuals until the statute of limitations ends in 2026.

Law Students Help Recent Immigrants Obtain Thousands of Dollars in Tax Credits

The LITC has served many immigrants with complex tax issues. In one case, LITC helped a Mexican asylee in an audit challenging her ability to claim the earned income tax credit and child tax credit. Alum Diego Gutierrez ’21 assisted the client by gathering evidence, drafting a compelling narrative, and submitting it to the IRS. The clinic was able to help the taxpayer prevail and obtain more than $9,000 in refunds.

In another case, the LITC helped a Guatemalan asylee who was supporting a child who had just obtained her social security number. The clinic helped her prove that she had earned income for the tax year, resulting in a refund totaling more than $5,000 for the client and her family. Student Karla Márquez de Gaab ’23 assisted the client in gathering evidence, including a letter from her employer, verifying her income.

A teaching moment (LtoR) Bree Yamada '24, Tanner Baloh '24, Professor Sarah Lora (LITC director),... A teaching moment (LtoR) Bree Yamada ’24, Tanner Baloh ’24, Professor Sarah Lora (LITC director), and Meg Jones ’24.

IRS Funds LITC for Another Three Years

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) awarded funding in support of Lewis & Clark’s Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) for another three years, through 2024. This award represents the 22nd, 23rd, and 24th years of continued IRS support for the clinic; the LITC reapplies for these competitive $300,000 grants every three years.

The IRS building in Portland. The IRS building in Portland. Credit: M.O. Stevens, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

More Clinic Updates

clinic update, Fall-2022

Global Law Alliance for Animals and the Environment Update

The Global Law Alliance for Animals and the Environment (GLA) provides a clinical experience for JD students interested in environmental and/or animal law and a specialized clinic for the Center for Animal Law Studies international LLM students interested in wildlife issues. Students worked on these issues and more:
clinic update, Fall-2022
SBLC and LITC students at their new downtown Portland clinic space.

Small Business Legal Clinic Update

The Small Business Legal Clinic (SBLC) served 415 clients, with 60 percent BIPOC-owned businesses and 57 percent women-owned businesses this past year. This was a new record and the first time the clinic served more than 400 clients in a year!
clinic update, Fall-2022

Criminal Justice Reform Clinic (CJRC) Updates

The clinic and its students work on issues including clemency, parole, access to courts for incarcerated youth, and forensic science in criminal cases.
clinic update, Fall-2022

Green Energy Institute Updates

The Green Energy Institute (GEI) develops smart and comprehensive legal and policy strategies to address climate change and support a swift and equitable transition to a sustainable, carbon-free energy grid.
clinic update, earthrise, Fall-2022
The Colorado River's Glen Canyon Dam.

Earthrise Updates

Earthrise is an environmental and natural resources litigation clinic serving nonprofit conservation organizations