What we do
The Community Tax Law Project (CTLP) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring access to legal services for Virginia's low-income taxpayers embroiled in federal or state disputes. CTLP provides free legal representation in tax disputes, educates taxpayers about their rights and responsibilities, and identifies and advocates for issues that impact low-income taxpayers. CTLP was founded on the belief that a taxpayer's access to professional representation in tax disputes should not depend solely on his or her ability to pay for such services.
As the first independent low-income taxpayer clinic (LITC) in the nation, CTLP has been a leader in the field of low-income taxpayer representation since its founding in 1992. To qualify for clinic services, family income must fall at or below 250% of the federal poverty level.
The clinic is operated by in-house staff who handles most cases directly, while referring other clients to outside pro bono attorneys, accountants, or enrolled agents. CTLP accepts cases at all stages of tax controversy, including examinations, appeals, refund claims, collections and negotiation of payment plans, and representation in Collection Due Process Hearings, Appeals Hearings, and before the United States Tax Court.
CTLP staff also engages in outreach and education to taxpayers who speak English as a second language, participants in welfare-to-work job skills programs, elderly and disabled individuals, self-employed individuals, and those who are survivors of domestic violence. CTLP staff provides continuing education and training programs for pro bono and panel members and others.
The problems we can typically help with include:
• Helping taxpayers substantiate claims for tax benefits;
• Helping custodial parents prove that they are entitled to claim their children on their returns;
• Helping taxpayers correct erroneous wage and income reports;
• Helping taxpayers cope with the tax consequences of home foreclosure and cancellation of debt;
• Helping taxpayers work out payment alternatives to discharge their tax liability;
• Helping innocent and injured spouses escape liability for taxes they do not owe; and,
• Helping retired and disabled taxpayers retain all of their retirement or disability benefits.