It is my firmly held belief that everyone should have access to good, top quality legal representation. However, even by charging the absolute minimum that I can for legal services, there are some taxpayers for whom even my services are too costly.
Although I take on and handle a significant amount of pro bono projects during the course of the year, I wanted to provide more information for those looking to get free taxpayer assistance and the ways to go about getting assistance. You can get help through a number of avenues, either through the Internal Revenue Service or other third parties.
First, it should be mentioned that the IRS has developed their own internal unit for helping taxpayers facing financial hardship. The Taxpayer Advocate Service is an independent group within the IRS that is dedicated to helping provide free taxpayer assistance.
The Taxpayer Advocate is impartial and acts as an intermediary between the IRS and the taxpayer. Working on issues such as collections matters, the group also provides checks and balances to make sure that the IRS is following proper procedure.
Free taxpayer assistance is also available for businesses, who can also qualify for Taxpayer Advocate assistance in certain circumstances. The Taxpayer Advocate typically operates regionally, but will also have several different units that handle specific taxpayer issues. Some units within the Taxpayer Advocate are focused on providing free taxpayer assistance while other units examine policy issues.
In additional to the Taxpayer Advocate, there are a number of specialized legal clinics which provide free taxpayer assistance. Usually these programs will operate or be associated with major regional law schools. For example, in San Diego where I live, the University of San Diego provides free taxpayer assistance through their legal clinics program.
Participants or prospective clients will call the office to schedule a meeting with a student interviewer, who is supervised by an attorney. Generally, these programs are geared toward low income individuals and for those individuals who have amounts in controversy that do not exceed certain amounts.
However, I have generally found that the quality of representation in these programs is terrific and the quality of representation is generally as good as representation by a newly minted attorney.
Information pertaining to clinics which offer free taxpayer assistance can be found in the Internal Revenue Service, Internal Revenue Manual, available at https://www.irs.gov/irm/part13/irm_13-001-020.html.
"Sam is a wonderful, results-oriented and extremely knowledgeable and talented attorney, who really has 'heart' in working on behalf of his clients, and explains options in a straightforward, respectful manner. He has assisted us with great outcomes which have added to our quality of life. I would not hesitate to recommend Sam for his services as he is an ethical, personable and expert attorney in his field. You will likely not be disappointed with Sam's work ethic, approach and his efforts."
-Aileen Dwight, Licensed Clinical Social Worker & Psychotherapist
Last updated: May 27, 2023
Our best stuff: secrets, tax saving tools, and tax defense strategies from the braintrust at Brotman Law.
These ten big ideas will change the way you think about your taxes and your business.
Find the articles and videos you need to make the right tax decisions in the learning center.
It is not just about what we do, but who we are, why we do it, and how that benefits you.
Meet with us to outline your strategy. No further obligation, 100% money-back guarantee.
In an ideal world, everyone would be able to pay their taxes in full and on time, but sometimes it...
13 min read
The first “Tax Master Class,” masterminded and hosted by Sam Brotman, took place on Thursday, April...
23 min read
Imagine yourself working as an IRS agent. Your department is in charge of identifying delinquent,...
16 min read
We'll answer your most pressing tax law questions in 15 minutes. Please choose a time below that works best for you.
IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, I must inform you that any U.S. federal tax advice contained in this website is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter contained in this website.