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Applications being accepted for grants

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By Special to the Monitor

PHOENIX — The Internal Revenue Service recently announced the opening of the 2011 Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) grant application process. Applications must be submitted no later than July 16, 2010.

“The Low Income Taxpayer Clinics are vital to taxpayers who need help with tax problems but lack resources,” IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said. “The grant program’s goal is to develop and expand these important services for low income taxpayers.”

The LITC grant program is a federal program administered by the Office of the Taxpayer Advocate at the IRS, led by National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson. The LITC program serves individuals who have problems with the IRS and whose incomes do not exceed 250 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. The LITC program also provides outreach and education to

taxpayers who speak English as a second language (ESL). LITCs are independent from the IRS. Most LITCs can provide representation before the IRS or in court on audits, tax collection disputes and other issues for free or for a nominal fee. Many clinics provide multilingual information about taxpayer rights and responsibilities.

Under the LITC grant program, the IRS awards matching grants of up to $100,000 per year to qualifying organizations to develop, expand or maintain low-income taxpayer clinics. The program is in its 12th year and continues to expand. To date, the LITC Program Office has awarded grants to 160 organizations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

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 Internal Revenue Code Section 501(a) that represent low-income taxpayers in tax disputes with the IRS or refer those taxpayers to qualified representatives.

The grant will cover the 2011 grant cycle, from Jan. 1, 2011-Dec. 31, 2011. Applications must be electronically filed, postmarked, sent by private delivery service or hand-delivered to the LITC Program Office in Washington, D.C. by July 16, 2010.

Copies of the 2011 Grant Application Package and Guidelines, IRS Publication 3319 (Rev. 5-2010), are available at www.irs.gov/advocate. Applicants may also order application packages from the IRS Distribution Center by calling 1-800-829-3676.

Applicants may file electronically at www.grants.gov. Those applying electronically should use the Funding Number TREAS-GRANTS-052011-001.

To ensure there are qualified clinics in areas most in need of LITC services, the LITC Program Office is particularly interested in receiving applications from organizations that are either (1) currently receiving a grant for the 2010 grant cycle or (2) proposing to serve the following counties:

Some states have either a controversy clinic, which provides representation before the IRS or in court, or an ESL clinic –– but not both. An overriding goal of the Office of the Taxpayer Advocate is to provide both types of services in each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

Toward that end, we are interested in receiving applications from organizations in states that currently lack either controversy or ESL services.

Questions about the LITC Program or grant application process can be addressed to the LITC Program Office at 202-622-4711 (not a toll-free call) or by e-mail at LITCProgramOffice@irs.gov.

For more information about the organizations receiving funding in 2010, see Publication 4134, Low Income Taxpayer Clinic List.

This publication is available at www.irs.gov, by calling 1-800-TAX-FORM, or at your local IRS office.