Federal Tax Clinic

The Federal Tax Clinic represents individual clients in tax controversy proceedings before the Internal Revenue Service and in the federal courts. In addition to legal representation of low-income taxpayers throughout Washington state, the Clinic provides UW law students with practical training in tax law, tax procedure and lawyering skills under the supervision of the Faculty Director Scott Schumacher and Managing Director John Clynch.

2015-16 Clinic Numbers
Quarters offered:  Full Year (Autumn, Winter, Spring)
Credits: 9 for J.D.s (three per quarter)
6 for LL.M.s (two per quarter)
Students: 18 (6 J.D., 12 LL.M.)
Clients: Calendar year 2015, opened 132 new cases. Saved clients $2,172,985 in 2015.

The Federal Tax Clinic was established in 2000 to assist low-income individuals in Western Washington in resolving disputes with the Internal Revenue Service. The federally-funded clinic offers this assistance as a public service and as a means of training law students in tax practice. The tax clinic has a pro bono panel of volunteer attorneys to assist the growing number of low-income taxpayers who have disputes with the IRS.

Notable Accomplishments

  • Won two cases in the United States Tax Court. In Roberts v. Commissioner, 141 T.C. No.19 (2013), the Tax Court found that the taxpayer’s ex-wife withdrew funds from his IRA without his consent. The Court held that even though the taxpayer was the owner of IRA, because he did not request, receive, or benefit from the IRA distributions, he was not a "payee" or "distributee" within the meaning of section 408(d)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code. In Bogart v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2014-46, the Court held that the IRS abused its discretion in failing to address the equitable grounds raised by the taxpayers in their collection due process hearing.
  • The UW Federal Tax Clinic received the largest grant award in the country.
  • One of two clinics nationwide in a pilot program utilizing video conferencing with the IRS.
  • Initiated Tax Court Clinic, where unrepresented taxpayers with Tax Court cases can access the tax clinic to negotiate on their behalf with IRS Counsel weeks before their Tax Court session, rather than the morning of Tax Court.
  • Received a $2,000 gift from the WSBA Tax Section
  • Continued Externship Program for Seattle University law students and increased enrollment to three students in summer of 2014.
  • Nine current and former Tax Clinic students spent one week in February in Alaska preparing tax returns for Alaskan villagers. This tax preparation program is sponsored by the Alaska Business Development Corporation and the Graduate Program in Taxation at the UW School of Law. In 2014, 19 communities were served, 1,723 current year returns were prepared, an estimated $522,069 in tax preparation fees were saved, and $2,705,658 in tax refunds were generated

Scott Schumacher Publications

Clinic Director Scott Schumacher is the co-author of the book Tax Crimes, published by LexisNexis.

See Scott's other published works here.

Schumacher joined the Audit Committee of the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC).

John Clynch

Managing Director John Clynch is the author of Tax Consequences of "Retiring" a General Partner’s Interest in a Law Partnership, which is included in The Lawyer’s Guide, published by the American Bar Association.

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