Course Syllabus

Instructor: Professor Ted Afield, Clinic Director
Class in Room 244
Class times: Saturday, January 9, 2015 (8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.) and Mondays 4:10 P.M. – 5:50 p.m.
Clinic offices: Lower Level (Work Rooms 006 -010)
Office hours: Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Office phone: 404-413-9230
Website: www.gsulitc.org
E-mail: taxclinic@gsu.edu

Clinic I Students

Books: The Clinic website is the electronic textbook for this course. The website contains guidance as to all aspects of your activities in the Clinic, including summaries of the procedural and substantive tax law that you will be dealing with in the Clinic. You should familiarize yourself with the web site and refer to it throughout the term.

Attendance, Class Participation, and Makeup Classes: Attendance is required. Excessive absences may result in exclusion from the class and/or a failing grade, at the discretion of the instructor. Absence from more than 4 hours of class will be considered excessive. You are expected to devote approximately 11 hours, on average, each week throughout the semester to your work in the Clinic for a total of 154 hours. Time spent in class is applied toward that time commitment. Seven of those hours each week must take place in the Clinic offices during normal business hours. During the first couple of weeks of the term, you will probably have to work more than the average number of hours in order to familiarize yourself with your cases, but you can apply those excess hours to the total number of hours required during the term.

Structure and Grading: Your grade is based on the following criteria: (a) professionalism, which includes your interaction with your clients, the IRS personnel, fellow students and staff, appropriate dress when necessary; (b) adherence to Clinic administrative and other procedures including meeting weekly with your supervisor and complying with all time sensitive deadlines; (c) quality of service you render to your clients as determined in part by the evaluations you will receive from your clients at the end of the semester; (d) accuracy and thoroughness of written documents and memoranda; (e) progress of cases especially the submission to Prof. Afield of one memoranda by mid-term and at a minimum one or more memoranda by the end of the term and finalization of one or more documents for submission to the IRS; (f) success in resolving cases and timely closing cases; (g) class participation and involvement in the Clinic; (h) meeting the minimum required Clinic hours; (i) proper maintenance of your electronic (Amicus) and paper files; and (j) compliance with statutory and administrative deadlines. Missing a statutory deadline may result in a failing grade in this course. See additional information on Clinic website relating to standards for grading.

If you have any questions or concerns relating to your progress during the term you should discuss them with Professor Afield as soon as your questions or concerns arise.

Prerequisites: In order to handle the issues commonly encountered in the Clinic, students must have successfully completed Basic Federal Taxation (Law 7095).

Goals and Approach: The Clinic will provide you with a closely supervised environment in which you will learn to exercise professional judgment and develop skills critical to the effective practice of law, including interviewing clients, gathering and verifying facts, preparing documents that will be filed in court or administrative agencies, etc…. Considerable time will be spent drafting memoranda that are designed to improve your legal writing. Although students in the Clinic work on tax matters, the practice skills that are developed are applicable to all areas of the law.

Extra Material: There are several books designed to help understand I.R.S. procedure. Among them are Saltzman, IRS Practice and Procedure, published by Warren, Gorham & Lamont and Effectively Representing Your Client Before the IRS. This is a product of the American Bar Association Section of Taxation Low-Income Taxpayers and Pro Bono Committees.

Clinic I Classes

Saturday, January 9, 2016 Missions: education and service
Education component

  • Professional judgment
  • Brief writing
  • Other lawyering skills
Background of Tax Clinic

  • Formation
  • Advisory committee
  • Funding
  • Graduates
  • Employment
  Staff and their functions

  • Professor Afield
  • Professor Blasi
  • Professor Timm
  • Professor Lester
  • Ms. Rich
  • GRA’s
Client confidentiality/privileged communication

  • Client conversations
  • Client files and Tax Clinic offices
 Use of Tax Clinic offices and equipment

  • Access to offices
  • Use of equipment
  • Guests
 Performance evaluation

  • Grading criteria
  • Weekly meetings
  • Mid-term reviews
  • Benchmarks: hours, writings, etc….
 Difference with other law school courses:

  • Confidentiality
  • Responsibility to clients
  • Responsibility to system of justice
  • Ingenuity/assignments
  • Web site
  • Recordkeeping
  • Collegiality
 Getting started

  • Powers of attorney
  • Your first week
Flowchart
Collection alternatives

  • OIC
  • Other collection alternatives: IA, CNC, audit reconsideration

OIC interviewing exercise

OIC writing exercise

Monday, Jan. 11

Amicus

File system

Administrative Procedures

Fact gathering and verification

·         ACURINT

·         PACER

·         Other

Form 433

Transcripts

 Monday, Jan. 18 No Class – Martin Luther King Holiday
  Monday, Jan. 25

U.S. Tax Court

Petition and appeals 

Selected tax procedure issues

Monday, Feb. 1

Innocent spouse relief

Injured spouse relief

Statute of limitations

Monday, Feb. 8 EITC, Dependency Exemptions, Filing Status
Monday, March 7 Mid-semester all week reviews
Monday, April 25 Transitioning cases

 

Clinic II

Attendance, Class Participation, and Makeup Classes: You are expected to devote approximately 9 hours, on average, each week throughout the semester to the Clinic for a total of 154 hours. Time spent in class is applied toward that time commitment. During the regular school year six (7) of those hours must take place in the Clinic offices during normal business hours. During the first couple of weeks of the term, you will probably have to work more than the average number of hours in order to familiarize yourself with your cases. During the spring you are encouraged to spread your time commitment over the semester and up to May 12, 2016.

Structure and Grading: Your grade is based on the following criteria: (a) professionalism, which includes your interaction with your clients, Internal Revenue Service personnel, fellow students and staff, appropriate dress when necessary; (b) adherence to Clinic administrative and other procedures including meeting all time sensitive deadlines; (c) quality of service you render to your clients as determined in part by the evaluations you will receive from your clients at the end of the semester; (d) accuracy and thoroughness of written documents and memoranda; (e) progress of cases especially the submission of at least one memoranda by mid-term and one or more memoranda by the end of the extended term to your supervisor and finalization of documents for submission to the I.R.S.; (f) success in resolving cases including timely closing cases; (g) class participation and involvement in the Clinic; (h) meeting the minimum required Clinic hours; (i) proper maintenance of your electronic (Amicus) and paper files; and (j) compliance with statutory and administrative deadlines. Missing a statutory deadline may result in a failing grade in this course. See additional information on Clinic website relating to standards for grading.

If you have any questions or concerns relating to your progress during the term you should discuss them with Professor Blasi as soon as your questions or concerns arise.

In addition, as a Clinic II or GRA student, you will be evaluated on the basis of your mentoring Clinic I students. Mentoring requires that you provide as part of your clinical hours assistance to Clinic I students in working and resolving their cases and learning the administrative procedures of the Clinic. You are also required to attend one class at 3:30 p.m. on August 19, 2013. When the Clinic I class begins at 4:10 p.m. you will be introduced to the new students.

Prerequisites: In order to handle the issues commonly encountered in the Clinic, students must have successfully completed Basic Federal Taxation (Law 7095) and Tax Clinic I (7600).

Goals and Approach: The principal objective of the Tax Clinic is to provide you with an environment in which you learn to exercise professional judgment in a supervised setting. You will be confronted with ethical and professionalism issues. You also will develop the essential lawyering skills of interviewing clients, gathering and verifying facts, preparing documents that will be filed in court or with administrative agencies, etc… Considerable time will be spent on tasks that will improve your writing. Although students in the Clinic work on tax matters, the practice skills that are developed are applicable to all areas of the law.

Extra Material: Among them are Saltzman, IRS Practice and Procedure, published by Warren, Gorham & Lamont and Effectively Representing Your Client Before the IRS. This is a product of the American Bar Association Section of Taxation Low Income Taxpayers and Pro Bono Committees.