The Internal Revenue Service announced its application period for Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) grants for calendar year 2020 will run through June 17, 2019.
If you didn’t know the LITC Program is a federal grant program administered by the Office of the Taxpayer Advocate at the IRS, led by the National Taxpayer Advocate, Nina E. Olson. Under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 7526, the IRS awards matching grants of up to $100,000 per year to qualifying organizations to develop, expand or maintain an LITC. An LITC must provide services for free or for no more than a nominal fee, it said in a news release.
The IRS welcomes all applications and said it will ensure each application it receives due consideration. The IRS is committed to achieving maximum access to representation for low income taxpayers under the terms of the LITC Program, it reports.
In awarding LITC grants for calendar year 2020, the IRS will continue to work toward the following program goals:
- Obtaining coverage for the states of Hawaii, Montana, North Dakota, West Virginia, Wyoming, and the territory of Puerto Rico to ensure that each state (plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico) has at least one clinic;
- Expanding coverage to counties in the following areas that are currently not being served by an LITC: mid-Florida and the panhandle, central Arizona, northern Pennsylvania, and southeast New York (For a complete list of counties, see page two of the 2019 Grant Application Package and Guidelines, Publication 3319 (PDF)); and
- Ensuring that grant recipients demonstrate they are serving geographic areas that have sizable populations eligible for and requiring LITC services.
The mission of LITCs are to ensure the fairness and integrity of the tax system for taxpayers who are low income or speak English as a second language by:
- Providing pro bono representation on their behalf in tax disputes with the IRS;
- Educating them about their rights and responsibilities as taxpayers; and
- Identifying and advocating for issues that impact these taxpayers.
LITC grants come from appropriated funds. The clinics, their employees and their volunteers operate independently from the IRS. Examples of qualifying organizations include:
- Clinical programs at accredited law, business or accounting schools whose students represent low income taxpayers in tax disputes with the IRS; and
- Organizations exempt from tax under IRC Section 501(a) whose employees and volunteers represent or refer for representation low income taxpayers in tax disputes with the IRS.
The IRS is authorized to award a multi-year grant not to exceed three years. For an organization not currently receiving a grant for 2019, an organization that received a single-year grant for 2019, or an organization whose multi-year grant ends in 2019, the organization must submit a full grant application electronically. For an organization currently receiving a grant for 2019 that is requesting funding for the second or third year of a multi-year grant, the organization must submit a request for continued funding electronically. All organizations must use the funding number of TREAS-GRANTS-052020-001, and applications and funding requests must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. EDT on June 17, it said in the release.
The complete program requirements and application instructions can be found in Publication 3319 (PDF). The LITC Program Office will host a webinar that will cover program and application requirements.