MSU College of Law News

June 16, 2006

MSU College of Law Granted IRS Funding for Services to Low-Income and ESL Taxpayers

East Lansing, MI—The Michigan State University College of Law Tax Clinic has been granted $50,000 under the Internal Revenue Service annual matching-grant program for low-income taxpayer clinics.

“The IRS grant is vital to the law college’s maintenance of the Tax Clinic,” said Michele Halloran, professor and director of the clinic. “It provides critical funding that enables us to educate our students in a sophisticated, varied tax practice, and simultaneously allows the students to provide a much-needed service to taxpayers for whom English is a second language (ESL) as well as to low-income clients for whom no other resource is available to assist them with tax matters.”

Under Michigan law, students working in law-school public-service clinics may provide legal services under the direction of clinic faculty who are members of the State Bar. The Tax Clinic will use the grant primarily to fund student assistance to low-income taxpayers involved in tax disputes with the IRS.

Additionally, a portion of the funds will educate ESL taxpayers on their tax rights and responsibilities. During the 2006 tax season, the clinic conducted multiple seminars to educate nearly 500 people from foreign countries on preparing their own non-resident alien tax returns. The clinic served clients speaking 18 languages in addition to English—Arabic, Bahasa, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Hindu, Indonesian, Malay, Polish, Spanish, Urdu, Thai, Korean, Japanese, Italian, Russian and Vietnamese—more than any other organization receiving a grant.

This year, the IRS awarded $8 million in matching grants to 150 low-income taxpayer clinics throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico. MSU College of Law has received one of the grants for each of the past six years.

MSU College of Law was founded as the Detroit College of Law in 1891. The law college affiliated with MSU in 1995 and moved to MSU’s East Lansing campus in 1997. The move enabled the college to build state-of-the-art facilities and to provide the benefits of a Big Ten campus. MSU Law strengthened its affiliation with Michigan State University in 2004, becoming more closely aligned academically. The association between the two schools has led to a comprehensive interdisciplinary legal education program at the law college.