Taxpayers who are unable to hire a tax professional to help resolve their tax problem can acquire free or discounted help at Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs). These IRS clinics are partly funded by the agency through the LITC grant program. The services LITCs provide include representation before the IRS, audit assistance, tax collection issues, and IRS appeals. Many LITCs also provide multilingual information facilities for taypayer's who do not speak English.
How Do LITCs Work?
LITCs are non-profit organizations that may represent taxpayers themselves or refer them to qualified tax professionals where taxpayers receive legal help pro bono or at a discounted price. LITCs also house tax professionals to assist taxpayers. Also, Low Income Taxpayer Clinics work independently from the IRS. Therefore, any information taxpayers share or record at an LITC does not reach the IRS.
Even though it depends on the discretion of each clinic whether it chooses to represent a taxpayer or not, the income level and the size of the family are the basic eligibility requirements considered.
Each LITC uses the poverty guidelines published by the Department of Health and Human Services annually to determine the eligibility requirements. Low income taxpayers, especially those whose incomes do not exceed 250 percent of the poverty guidelines are likely to be admitted for assistance.
For 2013, the income ceiling (250 percent of the poverty guidelines) was $28,725 for a single taxpayer. For a family of two, the income ceiling was $38,775. For Alaska and Hawaii, the income ceiling was slightly higher at $35,875 and $33,075 respectively. An addition of $10,050 was made for each additional member of the family.
Finding and Contacting LITCs
Low income taxpayers who have difficulty understanding English may also seek help from LITC. To find a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic in each state, taxpayers can use a map of LITCs provided by the IRS at http://www.irs.gov/uac/Contact-a-Low-Income-Taxpayer-Clinic.
The map will give taxpayers information about all LITCs operating within each state, their website, phone number(s), type of clinic, and language assistance specifications. Low income taxpayers may contact the LITC nearest them and make inquiries about resolution over the phone before visiting. The IRS also publishes a list of Low Income Taxpayers Clinics from time to time on their website www.irs.gov.