January 31, 2022

Continued Support for Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC)

Sarah Lora Sarah LoraThe Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has awarded funding in support of Lewis & Clark’s Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) for another three years, through 2024. This award represents the 22nd, 23rd, and 24th years of continued IRS support for the Clinic; the LITC reapplies for these competitive $300,000 grants every three years. Under the leadership of Assistant Clinical Professor of Law and LITC Director Sarah Lora, the Clinic delivers a three-prong program to represent, educate, and advocate for low-income taxpayers and taxpayers for whom English is a second language. With IRS support, the LITC is able to provide this need-based legal representation free-of-charge to qualified individuals.

Since 2000, the Clinic has successfully represented hundreds of taxpayers in all facets of federal tax litigation, including arguing before the ninth Circuit. Located off-campus in downtown Portland, the LITC is a teaching clinic for the Lewis & Clark Law School. Under Ms. Lora’s supervision, law student legal interns handle all casework and represent taxpayers in tax controversies with the IRS and the Oregon Department of Revenue. Students have the opportunity to work with clients in various administrative proceedings and litigation, including interviewing and counseling clients, conducting factual investigations, drafting documents, negotiating cases, and representing clients in hearings, trials, and appeals. In addition, Lewis & Clark’s LITC conducts educational events for low-income taxpayers on topics such as tax updates, anti-poverty credits, filing status, worker classification, and ITIN issues. LITC cases maximize opportunities for Lewis & Clark law students to learn and develop practical lawyering skills.

The activities of the LITC are well aligned with the goals and objectives outlined in the College’s Strategic Plan—for example, Goal #1, to “Become more connected and visible in Portland, including through volunteer, clinical, internship, and civic engagement opportunities.” Indeed, Ms. Lora and her students provide an incredible service to low-income taxpayers across Oregon and southwest Washington.

January 2022