Many nonacademic tax clinics and attorney referral programs (nonacademic clinics) provide free legal assistance to low income and self-represented petitioners. The two most common nonacademic clinic models are: (1) Clinics that assign cases to practitioners who are employees of the clinic, and (2) clinics that have a relationship with outside practitioners who have agreed to provide pro bono legal services and also participate in a calendar call program.
Nonacademic clinics help self-represented petitioners comply with the Internal Revenue Code and to deal appropriately with the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal courts. The United States Tax Court (the Court) recognizes the important assistance that nonacademic clinics provide to self-represented petitioners.
For nonacademic clinics which agree to abide by the requirements stated herein, the Court includes standard information about the clinic in mailings to petitioners and permits students/fellows to participate in Court hearings and trials. In addition, in 25 cities in which the Tax Court holds trial sessions, petitioners' counsel room is reserved for persons admitted to practice before the Court, including attorneys associated with tax clinics and Bar sponsored calendar call programs. The Tax Court does not endorse or recommend any particular clinic or Bar sponsored calendar call program.
The Court applies the following requirements with regard to participation in the Court’s nonacademic clinic program.
A nonacademic clinic participating in the Court’s nonacademic clinical program shall not charge any fee for legal services to petitioners. An nonacademic clinic may ask petitioners using its services to reimburse the clinic for incidental costs such as filing fees, copying costs, and postage charges. To participate in the Court’s nonacademic clinical program, a nonacademic clinic shall:
A practitioner accepting an assignment or referral of a Tax Court case from a nonacademic clinic shall satisfy the following requirements:
If the requirements set forth above are satisfied, the Court will permit students who are enrolled and in good standing with a law school accredited by the American Bar Association, and law school graduates serving as fellows associated with a nonacademic clinic, to participate in proceedings before the Court pursuant to the following procedures:
If these requirements are satisfied and the Court permits a nonacademic clinic to participate in this program, the Court will use stuffer notices to provide petitioners with contact information for the nonacademic clinic. It is important that the nonacademic clinic immediately inform the Court of any change in director, address or telephone number.
The Court, in its discretion, may terminate participation in the program by a nonacademic clinic at any time, provided notice stating the cause for the termination is furnished to the director thereof. In such a case, counsel of record would be required to file a motion to withdraw, pursuant to Rule 24(c), Tax Court Rules of Practice and Procedure.
Please contact us with any questions concerning the Court’s program or requirements, or call 202-521-3366.
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