Pro-Bono Legal and Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) Program
A New Start: Financials Social Services Inc is a Non-profit Organization that has been helping the community with its tax and housing problems since 2012. The organization is a Low-Income taxpayer clinic and Pro-Bono Legal Program, dedicated to providing critical support and representation to low-income individuals facing tax disputes with the IRS, legal services for housing discrimination, and helping tenants during the current housing crisis. The organization's Pro-Bono legal program also offers assistance in areas such as audits, appeals, tax collection disputes, and responding to IRS notices.
Scope of Work
A New Start serves several counties including Orange, Osceola, Ocoee, Lake, Brevard, Volusia, Miami-Dade, and Broward particularly those with ESL populations.
A New Start provides a range of services to the community including representation for taxpayers in audits, appeals, and tax collection disputes before the IRS and in the US Tax court.
The organization also assists with representing tenants during the eviction process during the COVID-19 pandemic, provides legal services for housing discrimination, aiding tenants during housing insecurity. The service is offered for free or for a small fee, and populations served are mentally and mobility disabled, elderly, low-income 250% below the poverty line, ESL, and incarcerated or previously.
A New Start also conducts workshops on Landlord/Tenant Law, Criminal Law, Expungement, and Taxes. Our workshops aim to educate the public on their rights and responsibilities and offer a foundational step to encourage continuing tax compliance.
Furthermore, the organization has engaged in service learning with Miami Dade College and Barry University students. Miami Dade College students completed over 500+ hours of service learning and Barry University students from various disciplines completed over 1680+ hours of Service-Learning work by working with low-income populations The service-learning program provides students with graded experimental learning work through community engagement while also providing much-needed help to the low-income population.
A New Start’s impact can be seen in the number of people it has helped since its inception. The organization has resolved nearly $300,000 in tax debts for low-income taxpayers through its representation services. The organization’s workshops and public education have educated first-time filers about the tax system and the service-learning program has helped students engage with and assist the low-income population. A New Start has provided legal services for housing discrimination and helped tenants during the current housing crisis, providing a critical support system for the community.
LITCs also provide education and outreach to low-income taxpayers to help them better understand their tax obligations and rights. LITCs can provide educational materials, workshops, and one-on-one counseling sessions on various topics, including:
Taxpayers' rights and responsibilities
LITCs can educate taxpayers on their rights and responsibilities when dealing with the IRS. This can help taxpayers better understand what the IRS can and cannot do, and how to protect their rights.
LITCs can educate taxpayers on various tax-related issues, such as how to file their tax returns, how to claim credits and deductions, and how to respond to IRS notices.
LITCs can also provide education on financial literacy topics, such as budgeting, saving, and managing debt. This can help low-income taxpayers build their financial skills and improve their overall financial well-being.
Tax Advocacy and Resolution program
in memory of Leona Minto (1960 – 2021)
Raise awareness of issues facing low-income taxpayers:
LITCs can also raise awareness of the issues facing low-income taxpayers, such as the challenges they face in complying with the tax code or accessing legal assistance. By doing so, they can help policymakers and the public understand the importance of supporting low-income taxpayers and providing them with the resources they need to succeed.
Advocate for policy changes:
LITCs can advocate for policy changes that benefit low-income taxpayers, such as simplifying the tax code, expanding access to tax credits, or increasing funding for LITCs themselves.
How Low-Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs) Help Low-Income Taxpayers
Low-Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs) are non-profit organizations that provide free or low-cost legal assistance to low-income taxpayers who are facing issues with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). These clinics operate independently but receive funding from the IRS to support their activities.
Resolving disputes with the IRS:
LITC attorneys can represent taxpayers in disputes with the IRS, such as audits, appeals, and collection actions. They can negotiate with the IRS on behalf of the taxpayer and help them reach a resolution that is favorable to them
Helping with tax-related court cases:
LITC attorneys can represent taxpayers in tax-related court cases, such as Tax Court and bankruptcy proceedings. They can help taxpayers navigate the legal process and present their cases in court.
Assisting with tax-related identity theft:
LITC attorneys can help taxpayers who are victims of tax-related identity theft. They can work with the IRS to correct any errors on the taxpayer's account and help them protect their identity going forward.