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Bar News - November 9, 2007

Pro Bono’s Low-Income Taxpayer Project: Volunteers Making a Difference for Those in Need



When “Mary” received a Final Notice of Levy informing her that

LITP volunteers from left to right: William Boesch, Beth Fowler, Craig Standish, National Tax Advocate Nina Olson and John Zaremba

 the IRS was preparing to garnish her Social Security benefits by 15 percent each month, she was unsure how she was going to manage.  Social Security was her only source of income.  Permanently disabled with a severe neurological disorder and unable to work, she turned to Pro Bono’s Low-Income Taxpayer Project (LITP) for assistance.  A tax attorney volunteer met with Mary and assessed her financial situation.  He learned that the tax debt in question was the result of her former spouse’s failure to pay taxes on income he earned while the two were married.  With the help of this volunteer attorney, Mary filed an Offer in Compromise application with the IRS.  Soon after, she was notified that her offer was accepted.  The debt was reduced to an amount she could pay and the hardship that would have been created by the levy was avoided.


The New Hampshire Low-Income Taxpayer Project, funded in part by a grant from the IRS, is in its fifth year of operation through the Pro Bono Referral Program.  Each year, we hear from many low-income taxpayers anxious to resolve disputes with the IRS.  A panel of volunteers, like the dedicated tax attorney that assisted Mary, assist other low-to-moderate income taxpayers with a variety of federal tax-related controversies.  The issues, problems, and areas tackled by the panel include deficiency notices, notices of levy, liens, audits, innocent or injured spouse claims, offers in compromise, and earned income tax credit eligibility.  In order to qualify for assistance through the clinic, taxpayers are financially screened and must have a gross income that does not exceed 250 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.  (For a family of two, for example, the family may gross $34,225 or less per year in order to be eligible.)  In addition, the amount in controversy for any taxable year must not exceed $50,000.


On December 6, 2007, the Clinic’s annual attorney volunteer training will take place from 9 a.m.-12:30 at the NH Bar Center in Concord.  (See the registration form on this page.)  The training will feature practical advice and insights about addressing tax disputes with the IRS.  The information provided will be helpful to both seasoned tax attorne ys and those new to this area of practice.  For those in general practice, tax issues creep into all types of cases, including family and bankruptcy matters.  Take this opportunity to learn more about the Project and gain new information that will surely benefit you in Pro Bono cases and beyond.

Joceline D. Champagne
Practicing law can be rigorous and time-consuming.  Many dedicated and devoted New Hampshire attorneys, however, find the time to take pro bono cases on a regular basis.  As a Taxpayer Project volunteer you can join our dedicated panel of attorneys and help low-income taxpayers obtain much needed relief from the burden of federal tax debt.  The clients of the Taxpayer Project are making an effort to comply with the IRS but need your help.


Those with questions about the Low-Income Taxpayer Project or the upcoming volunteer training CLE are encouraged to contact Joceline Champagne, Project Coordinator, at 715-3262 or



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