Administrative Procedures

Office and Computer Access

You are welcome to access the clinic anytime, including in the evenings and on weekends. Access to the clinic is provided via a card-swipe reader at the front door using a valid Panther ID.

Whenever the university is officially closed you’ll not be able to access the clinic. The main key chain located in the clinic locker has a key that opens all offices, except the associate director’s office. It also has keys to all file cabinets. The procedures for locking the offices are posted in the kitchen/copy room and taped to one of the file cabinets in Room 162.

Access to clinic computers is with your Campus ID and Password. If you’ve never logged into a computer in the computer lab, stop by the library’s computer lab and request a login ID. Once logged into a clinic computer, you will need to enter a second password which is “gsu.” When you leave the clinic for the day, logout and restart your computer. The computers must remain on.

If you are the last person in the clinic area, please turn off all copiers, coffee maker, toaster oven and space heaters. Make sure that the all cabinets that contain client files and all doors to all offices are locked and all lights turned off. Always return the key to the locker. If you don’t remember the locker combination, or the lock won’t open for some reason, turn the keys in at the Law Library Circulation Desk and notify the clinic staff by leaving a message at 404-413-9230.

Office Appearance

Please keep your office in an orderly state. Avoid leaving personal items, such as books and other materials, in your office. If you do, please place them in a drawer or under the cabinets. Please place the office trash can in the hallway for collection by the cleaning staff. All food items must be placed in the kitchen trash container.

Absences

If you expect to be out of the office for more than a couple of days, please inform the administrative coordinator.

Telephone Usage, Equipment

Please do not use clinic phones for personal calls if to do so would disturb another student working in the same office. Do not use clinic copiers, other equipment, supplies or other resources for non-clinic purposes. If you have problems with any office equipment or if you need supplies, please let the administrative coordinator know immediately.

Avoid contacting your clients from your personal phone. If you have to do so, you should block your name and number by pressing *67 before placing a call.

Handling Client Documents

Client documents should not be left out on the worktables, copiers/printers, etc… when you are not working on them. All client documents and files should be placed in the client file and locked up in the file cabinet when you are not working on the file. If you’re going to leave the office for more than a couple of hours, please return the files to the file cabinet.

All documents containing a client’s personal and confidential information that are to be discarded must be destroyed by shredding. There are shredders in every office. If you have a large amount of documents to shred, place the documents in the shredding box.

Mailing and Faxing Procedures

All correspondence sent to the IRS must be sent via UPS. This is necessary in order to confirm the date of mailing. UPS packages should be ready to ship no later than 2:30 p.m. of the day to be sent. The administrative coordinator will prepare the shipping label. When a delivery confirmation e-mail is received, the administrative coordinator will match the email to the label and placed them in your mailbox. This confirmation must be inserted in the client’s file attached to the piece of mail or notebook that was sent out. IRS correspondence and confirmations of mailing should be placed on Side IV of the file. It is your responsibility to ensure that all documents are timely mailed.

All fax confirmations should be attached to the back of the faxed document and inserted into the client file.

Correspondence

All IRS correspondence should be on clinic letterhead, and a copy of the signed original should be placed on Side IV of the file. All significant correspondence, other than form letters, must be reviewed by the associate director prior to being mailed. After signing a letter to be sent to the client, make a copy of it and place it on Side II of the client file. Always include a self-addressed-stamped-envelope when sending something for the client to return to you. Seal the envelope and place it in the Administrative Coordinator’s “Outgoing Mail” box for mailing.

Document Review Procedures

Generally, the clinic director must review documents prior to them being sent to the IRS or Tax Court. These documents include petitions, the memoranda that accompany Offers in Compromise, appeals notebooks, audit reconsiderations, refund claims, innocent spouse relief requests, and other similar documents. You should allow enough time (about two weeks) for review and revision prior to the due date for submitting such documents.  Documents sent to the clinic director should have on the e-mail subject line the student’s first name, then a dash and the client’s last name (e.g., Tom-Smith).  The file name also should be labeled the same way (e.g.Tom_Smith), but using an underscore instead.

Emails

The clinic has an e-mail account on G-mail for your use. Do not use your personal email to communicate with clients or third-parties. Instructions and the password will be distributed at the beginning of each semester. If you use the clinic’s account do not forget to check it. The administrative staff will also check the G-mail account several times a day. However, you should also check it when you are in the clinic for mail related to one of your cases.

Print a copy of any emails you send or receive, and place the copy in the appropriate section of the client file. In most circumstances, you should not send confidential client information by email. However, there may be occasions when you may need to send out a draft document in Word (such as to a client for review). In these limited cases, eliminate metadata from the electronic document.

Eliminating Metadata from Electronic Documents

Sending electronic files by email may compromise the confidentiality of client information. Metadata is information stored in an electronic document. Examples of metadata include the author of a spreadsheet, the time a photograph was taken, or the comments to a Word document. Because this information is contained in the electronic file, it can be transmitted to a third party when the document is attached to an email. In some cases, metadata may disclose confidential information. Convert the file to PDF format to reduce the possibility of sending metadata.

Resources

The American Bar Association on metadata ethics
Why you should care about metadata.pdf

How to Protect Metadata

You should take steps to ensure that confidential metadata is not provided to a third party. The only guaranteed way is to print a paper copy. When an electronic document must be used, there two options for removing metadata:

  1. Print a paper copy and scan to PDF (the copy machines will scan and email a PDF to you).
  2. Scrub the data from the file. In Microsoft Word, remove the metadata by clicking on File -> Info -> Prepare for Sharing -> Inspect Document. In the pop-up window, click the Inspect button, and then click the Remove All buttons for each category. More information is available from Microsoft.