The ABA Section of Taxation is partnering with the Internal Revenue Service to provide free legal assistance to taxpayers during its inaugural Virtual Settlement Week, Oct. 24-27. The event is part of National Celebration of Pro Bono Week.
Volunteer attorneys will be matched with unrepresented taxpayers to meet and discuss settlement with the IRS Chief Counsel’s Office attorney assigned to the case. The legal assistance to taxpayers can potentially help them achieve a resolution to their case without having to argue before the U.S. Tax Court.
The IRS reached out to the Tax Section to partner on a national Virtual Settlement Day, said Meg Newman, counsel for the Tax Section, who is overseeing the pro bono project. “The advantage is that we are able to match members of the Tax Section who would like to provide pro bono services with taxpayers who need assistance but might live in a different geographic region where it is more challenging to access pro bono support,” she said.
More than 60 attorneys have volunteered for the project. ABA Tax Section members who are interested in taking pro bono cases but do not have experience working with unrepresented taxpayers will be paired with a more experienced attorney to assist a taxpayer facing a real tax problem. It’s a win-win situation for all involved: The taxpayer will be assisted, and more attorneys will be trained to do pro bono tax work.
The IRS is reaching out to taxpayers with docketed or calendared cases to see if they would be interested in participating. The agency hopes to set 25-50 appointments during the four-day event.
Settlement Days occur on a regular basis throughout the country and are coordinated efforts to resolve cases in the United States Tax Court by providing taxpayers who are not represented by counsel with the opportunity to receive free tax advice from Low Income Taxpayer Clinics and other pro bono organizations.
“We are excited about this pilot to see how it can work to fill the need for pro bono representation in parts of the country that do not have as many low-income tax clinics or other pro bono tax law support locally,” Newman said.
Click here to volunteer for Virtual Settlement Week.