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About the Tax Clinic

The Federal Tax Clinic is one of seven clinics comprising the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School. As part of its mission to help low-income individuals and families in Greater Boston, the Federal Tax Clinic provides free legal representation, advice, and counsel to low-income clients who have tax problems with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Massachusetts Department of Revenue (MADOR). Client eligibility is based on case type and current income level. Detailed income eligibility information is in the Frequently Asked Questions section below. Click on the image below to view or download the Tax Clinic’s flyer.

NEW: Tax Day is Here: Tax Clinic Director Keith Fogg on Common Issues Taxpayers Face on 2020 Returns

Tax Clinic BrochureContact Us

If you are facing a tax issue and would like to find out if you are eligible for assistance, please call the Tax Clinic’s intake line at 617-390-1729 and leave a message. We will return your call as soon as possible.

If you need an interpreter, one will be provided for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

We handle a variety of case types, from family tax issues such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, child tax credit, and dependency exemptions, to IRS collection matters such as installment payment agreements, offers in compromise, and audit reconsiderations. Our service is available at all procedural stages in a client’s case, including representing clients in federal court in controversies against the IRS.

Audits: A typical case in the tax clinic might involve a person under audit, where the IRS or MA DOR seeks to determine if a position claimed on their return is correct or if income not reported on the return was properly left off. There are several common situations that may trigger an audit. For instance, IRS or MA DOR may want to validate a dependency claim and the appropriateness of a corresponding tax credit. Or the taxing agency thinks the taxpayer has more income than they reported. Many taxpayers are unaware that cancellation of certain types of debt can generate taxable income and they may accidentally exclude it from their tax return. Such income can be partially or completely excluded if the taxpayer is insolvent.

Tax debts: Another common case in the tax clinic involves individuals with tax debt they cannot pay. Both the IRS and MA DOR have a process for working with individuals unable to pay their tax debt. The Tax Clinic assists clients in working through these processes and providing the necessary information to the tax authority to satisfy the criteria for forbearance or forgiveness. The clinic also represents individuals in the United States Tax Court and other courts as necessary.

We primarily represent clients who live in Greater Boston. When unique or particularly important legal issues are at stake, we will also consider cases from outside our primary geographic service area.

To be eligible for assistance with an IRS case, an individual must make less than $32,300. This amount increases by $11,350 for each person in your household who could be a dependent on your tax return. The following chart provides an overview of our income thresholds by family size.

Number of people in your household that you support (including yourself)Maximum Income
1$32,300
2$43,650
3$55,000
4$66,350
5$77,700
6$89,050

To be eligible for assistance on a case with the Mass. Department of Revenue, an individual must make less than $51,520 per year. This amount increases by $18,160 for each person in your household who could be a dependent on your tax return. The following chart provides an overview of our income eligibility thresholds by family size.

Number of people in your household that you support (including yourself)Maximum Income
1$51,520
2$69,680
3$87,840
4$106,000
5$124,600
6$142,320

Your current income level is based on how much you are making right now, not what you earned in a prior year.

No. The Tax Clinic provides legal services to eligible individuals free of charge.

The Tax Clinic only prepares returns in connection with the resolution of a tax controversy and does not prepare current-year returns. If you need to have a return prepared, we strongly recommend that you use a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site for the preparation. These sites are free and the individuals who will assist you there have received training on the types of tax issues likely to come up on your return. Click to find the nearest VITA site.

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