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Chapman's Tax Law Clinics

»Tax Law Clinics


The Tax Law Clinic is the oldest clinical program at Chapman University's Dale E. Fowler School of Law, and we are proud to offer both trial and appellate tax clinic opportunities to our students. Through the clinic, Chapman law students have served thousands of taxpayers, saving millions of dollars in taxes since 1997.

In a recent victory, Chapman law students helped a veteran living in near poverty. The Vietnam War veteran and double amputee was being levied by the IRS seeking taxes that grew to over $100,000 because of interest and penalties. He was desperate for a resolution but did not have the thousands of dollars necessary to hire an attorney. Our clinic prepared an Offer in Compromise and based on the clients income and assets resolved his taxes for $500. This gave the veteran a fresh start in more ways than one.

The Tax Clinic

Chapman is currently one of only three law schools in California - and a very small percentage of law schools nationwide - to be awarded a federal grant to operate a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (“LITC”). The law school has been a recipient of a LITC grant award in each year since the program’s inception.

In the trial level tax clinic, law students have the chance to handle cases in many different stages of controversy including case that are in the U.S. Tax Court.  Although students are under the supervision of attorney-professors, the student is expected to take responsibility for all aspects of their cases including: interviewing clients, gathering facts and evidence, performing research, and meeting with the IRS to negotiate a settlement.  If settlement efforts fail, the student may have the opportunity to take the case to trial.

The clinic benefits the clients, students, IRS and the Tax Court. Clients benefit from receiving counsel and representation that they otherwise could not afford; students learn invaluable skills handling live clients while still in law school; the IRS appreciates the assistance in resolving cases at earlier stages of a controversy; and the Tax Court is pleased that our students help settle many cases that otherwise would go to trial.

The Appellate Tax Advocacy Clinic

The law school launched the Appellate Tax Advocacy Clinic course in 2008. This course lets students participate in docketed appellate tax cases conducted under the auspices of The Center for Fair Administration of Taxation. Here, students do not represent taxpayers before the IRS, but rather they participate in drafting amicus curiae ("friend of the court") briefs in significant matters that impact federal, state or local tax law.

Students conduct research on legal issues, draft appellate briefs, and, depending on the jurisdiction of the court and the nature of the case, present their brief before an appellate court.

The Student Experience

  • Stephan B. ('14)
  • Stephan"The Tax Clinic provided me with the opportunity to assist low-income clients in their disputes with the IRS all the way up to the Tax Court. My experience has been very rewarding, and I highly recommend the Clinic to all students that are interested in tax law."

    -Stephan B. (J.D. '14)

+-Course Information for Students

Under a special IRS and Tax Court rules of practice, students in this clinical education course are permitted to handle actual cases on a wide variety of tax issues at various stages of exam, appeal, court and collections. Under supervision of Attorney-Professors, students are responsible for all aspects of their cases including meeting with clients, gathering facts and evidence, researching applicable laws, and meeting with the IRS to discuss case in an effort to negotiate a favorable outcome. If the case is for trial, the student normally represents the client in court and completes all post trial work.

This course is an elective option for the Certificate in Taxation. This course will satisfy the Lawyering Skills requirement. Prerequisite: Federal Income Tax. (Recommended: Advanced Federal Income Tax, Taxation of Business Organizations.)

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Recent News

Chapman law student successfully argues in Tax Court on behalf of struggling single mother to reverse denial of Earned Income Tax Credit resulting in a much needed refund for the family.

Professor George Willis

"The Tax Clinic provides law students with practical skills and knowledge relating to tax law and IRS policies and procedures. Students assist clients from the initial interview process and often argue cases in Tax Court."

    Contact Us

    Professor George Willis, Director
    Ph: (714) 628-2535
    Email: lowincome@chapman.edu

    BJ Reich, Administrative Assistant 
    Ph: (714) 628-2535
    Email: lowincome@chapman.edu

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