Services to the Public
The clinic gives free legal help to persons, based upon their level of income, who have federal income tax problems or need federal income tax advice. Dealing with the clinic will not affect taxpayers’ rights before the IRS.
The clinic provides free advice and assistance for:
- Income tax returns being examined by the IRS;
- IRS tax-collection problems;
- Tax cases pending before the United States Tax Court.
Potential clients should call the clinic at 412-648-1300. Clinic personnel will decide whether or not to represent a client based on:
- The client’s income;
- The issues involved in his or her case;
- The availabilities of clinic students.
Each qualified client will be phoned by a student from the clinic, to arrange a meeting to discuss the client’s legal needs. All conversations with clients are confidential.
For Law School Students:
Description of Fieldwork / Client Representation
Working under the supervision of experienced tax attorneys, the clinic’s students assist in all aspects of delivering legal services to low-income taxpayers in disputes with the IRS. Students engage in interviewing, counseling, research, drafting, and negotiation with the IRS calendar and the disposition of the cases taken. In addition to working with clients, students meet for weekly case-review sessions.
Description of Classroom Component
Students meet in class once a week with the three adjunct professors to review the status of current clinic cases. Additionally, class time is used to review and discuss:
- Current IRS opinions, rulings, regulations, and other administrative or judicial releases that are pertinent to procedural and/or substantive issues;
- The numerous IRS Forms utilized for collection and due process purposes;
- Preparation of FOIA Requests, refund claims, Requests for Audit Reconsideration, Requests for an Installment Agreement, Tax Court Petitions, Requests to Release Federal Tax Liens, amended tax returns, and Offers in Compromise.
The class also reviews IRS-generated documents, notices, and correspondence.
Transcript / Awarding of Credits
At the end of the semester.
Yes, with the instructor’s permission.
Eligibility Requirements / Prerequisites
Students must have successfully completed 3 semesters of law school. Prerequisites: LAW 5105: Federal Income Taxation. Recommended prior or concurrent course: LAW 5325: Federal Tax Practice & Procedure.
Application Procedure and Selection Basis
There is no special application procedure. Students should follow the regular registration process.
Additional Contact info
University of Pittsburgh Law School Taxpayer Clinic
P.O. Box 7226
Pittsburgh, Pa. 15213
Faculty / Staff
Sheila Velez Martinez, Director of Clinical Programs
Professor Sheila I Vélez Martínez is the Jack and Lovell Olender Professor of Asylum Refugee and Immigration Law at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. She is also the Director of Clinical Programs and the Immigration Law Clinic. Her academic publications and academic interests include issues related to immigrant women, Puerto Rican migration, Caribbean Migration, remittances, legal pedagogy and OutCrit theory.
She joined Pitt Law as a visiting professor in 2010 to establish the Immigration Law Clinic. She is a member of the Board of Directors of LatCrit (Latino and Latina Critical Legal Studies Inc.) and also of Friends of Farmworkers. She holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Puerto Rico School of Law.
Alice L. Stewart, Assistant Professor of Law
Attorney Alice L. Stewart has focused her professional career on Federal Tax Law and Federal and State Securities Law. Professor Stewart serves as the Director of the Low-Income Tax Clinic, Director of the Securities Arbitration Clinic and as a Clinical Professor. Professor Stewart has provided law students with a unique opportunity to gain practical experience. She has assisted hundreds of low-income tax clients through controversy and dispute with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and has counseled both tax and securities seminars through outreach programs in and around the Pittsburgh area.
Megan Bayer, Administrative Assistant