November 20, 2018

Pro Bono Opportunities

Members at the Pro Bono booth at the 2018 Fall Tax Meeting in Atlanta, GA

Members at the Pro Bono booth at the 2018 Fall Tax Meeting in Atlanta, GA

Pro Bono: Getting Involved

The Tax Section is pleased to assist tax attorneys in locating meaningful pro bono opportunities. Below find descriptions of some of the programs we use to link members with pro bono work. Please also feel free to contact us if you have questions specific to your area of interest or geography and we will do our best to help you locate an opportunity that fits your interests and background

Calendar Call Programs

Calendar Call programs provide important advice and assistance to low-income, otherwise unrepresented taxpayers who have disputes with the IRS.

Assist Service Members

Help our service members with your tax experience through training VITA volunteers on military bases, or signing up for the ABA Military Pro Bono Project.

Assisting Elderly Taxpayers

The Section is concerned with ensuring the needs of special populations of taxpayers are met. Taxpayers who are advancing in age may have distinct tax considerations from other taxpayers.

Resources for Assisting Disaster Survivors

We have gathered resources that can be used by tax attorneys find ways to help when a disaster strikes.

Low Income Taxpayer Clinics

LITCs provide representation before the IRS or in court on audits, tax collection disputes, and other issues for free or for a small fee.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance & Tax Counseling for the Elderly

Provide free tax preparation for low-income individuals, families, and seniors through the IRS’ national program operated locally in YOUR neighborhood.



Pro Bono Pledge

At the Fall Tax Meeting in Atlanta in October 2018, the Section officially launched the Pro Bono Pledge Program. The Section of Taxation is committed to advancing access to representation for low-income and other vulnerable taxpayers, promoting education and the understanding of tax law and advancing fairness and equity in the tax system. Click the link for more information!

Webinars for Attorneys Interested in Pro Bono Work

The Tax Section started to offer quarterly webinars free to all ABA Members in March, 2018. The webinars build on each other and are meant to prepare tax attorneys who are interested in representing low-income taxpayers but do not have experience working with this population or potentially in controversy at all. Each webinar is recorded and posted here for educational purposes only. If you would like CLE credit, you can also purchase the webinars through the ABA Store. 

Nuts & Bolts Collections Workshop Series

  • Nuts & Bolts Collections Workshop: A Guide to Assisting Pro Bono Clients with Collection Matters (March 7, 2018)   Full Recording  |  Slides  |  Materials Appendix
  • Nuts & Bolts Collections Part II: Next Steps in Assisting Pro Bono Clients with Collections Matters (June 13, 2018)  Full Recording  |  Materials
  • Nuts & Bolts Collections Part III: Preparing an Offer-in-Compromise for Pro Bono Clients (September 18, 2018)  Full Recording  |  Materials page

Pro Bono Week CLE Series

The Section participates in the ABA’s Celebrate Pro Bono week each October. We usually host a free webinar for attorneys practicing in the pro bono are or Low-Income Tax Clinic. Here are recordings to some of these free webinars.

Disaster Resiliency: How Tax Attorneys Can Assist When a Disaster Strikes(Recorded 10/25/18) (Supp. Materials) PDF MP3
20 Years After 'The End of Welfare:' Workfare Delivered Through Federal and State EITC Systems (Recorded 10/24/16) MP3 Video
Designing a Pro Bono Project for Your Firm (Recorded 10/28/15) PDF MP3
Tax Advocacy for Survivors of Domestic Violence in the Context of Military Life (Recorded 10/24/13) PDF MP3
Taxation of SCRA Foreclosure Settlements (Recorded 10/23/13) PDF MP3
Protecting Identity and Encouraging Taxpayer Compliance - Can the IRS Do Both? (Recorded 10/25/12) PDF MP3
Federal Income Tax Issues Facing Unauthorized Workers and Their Families (Recorded 10/27/11) PDF MP3
U.S. Tax Court Pro Bono Programs (Recorded 10/26/11) PDF MP3
Tax Court Controversy: The Nuts and Bolts of Pro Bono Representation (Recorded 10/25/11) PDF MP3


Tax Assistance Public Service (TAPS)

The Tax Assistance Public Service (TAPS) endowment fund provides stable, long-term funding for the Tax Section’s tax-related public service programs. The TAPS endowment fund primarily supports the Christine A. Brunswick Public Service Fellowship program, which provides two-year fellowships for recent law school graduates to work for non-profit organizations offering tax-related legal assistance to underserved communities.

To date, the TAPS endowment fund has supported nearly 20 fellows providing dozens of years of service and unique projects to advance services to low-income taxpayers. Not only have the fellows produced impressive results, but many have secured positions in the field of low-income tax assistance and continue to serve low-income communities and train a new generation of law students to provide these services after their fellowships. Other fellows have clerked for judges of the U.S. Tax Court who value their experiences working with underserved taxpayers and their perspectives gained from their first-hand involvement in low-income tax issues. Fellows who practice tax law in other settings such as major law firms and the government, continue to contribute to the Tax Section by remaining active in pro bono initiatives, speaking on panels, leading committees, drafting comments, and mentoring fellows and other new lawyers. This program has been incredibly successful both in serving taxpayers who otherwise might not have representation, making systemic change in local communities and in providing a springboard to careers in low-income tax services.

Consider giving to the TAPS endowment fund today. Your generous support will help ensure that the Section can continue its mission to provide legal assistance to those in need.



Pro Bono Matters Column

Pro Bono Matters highlights the Pro Bono activities of the Section of Taxation. It appears as a reoccurring column in the ABA Tax Times.

Further Resources

  • Pro Bono & Tax Clinics Tax Connect Community: The PBTC Tax Connect Community is a virtual space where over 1,000 pro bono tax attorneys and LITC practitioners are able to communicate about questions, resources, publications, training and job opportunities and more. The Section has made this community open to anyone who creates a free ABA account even if you are not a member of the ABA as a service to the community. So join today!
  • Christine A. Brunswick Public Service Fellowship:  The Public Service Fellowship program was developed to provide legal service assistance to low income taxpayers in underserved areas of the country, and to foster an interest in tax-related public service for those young tax lawyers who participate.
  • Janet R. Spragens Pro Bono Award: The Pro Bono Award recognizes one or more individuals or law firms that have provided meritorious pro bono service in the representation to low-income taxpayers. The award is intended to encourage pro bono activities by all members through public recognition of the pro bono services of the annual award winners.