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The Tax Practice of IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law
The Tax Practice of IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law


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Welcome Back, Non-Essentials!

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After sixteen official days of government shutdown, the non-essential federal civil servants, including most every IRS employee, returned to work last Thursday. While their two-week paid vacation provided us practitioners a bit of relief from the barrage of telephone calls and unilaterally-scheduled appointments and deadlines, the accrued work will now prove a daunting challenge to both sides. Fortunately, our first day at the clinic with the IRS back to work remained quiet; presumably, all the furlough-ees were going through their towering stacks of accumulated mail and telephone messages, and meeting with managers to strategize the make-up plan. First order of business? Fill the paper in the damn fax machines, ok?

It would certainly be a more creative challenge for me to rant the other side of this mess: how the government shutdown was actually a good thing for the country and that the principles supported by the hardline brinksmanship justify the suffering and global embarrassment, as well as the estimated cost to our economy of $24 billion. But even as an academic exercise, I just can’t do it. The whole incident was a shameful time for our country, and I have joined the passionate chorus of disillusioned citizens wanting to throw them all out of office – I am now pretty certain I cannot vote for any congressional incumbent. Could the silver lining of all this be the rise of a real third party, strong enough to check and balance the existing powers that be? Oh, we can only hope...

As we return to relative normalcy, I am happy to report that the Chicago Kent College of Law Tax Clinic has never been stronger in its mission – to provide the highest quality aggressive and ethical legal representation for reasonable, predictable fees. One principle we emphasize and re-emphasize to our students is that no one benefits – not the client, not the government, not us – if we promise an outcome that is simply unlikely. Our clinic will never sell an Offer in Compromise service to a client that has little or no chance of succeeding. Our clinic will never litigate a case with meritless legal positions. We fail our clients and our profession when we raise or indulge expectations that are not realistic. Its bad business, and its bad lawyering, and we will never engage in such practices.

A couple of exciting things to tell you about before I close out the rant for this month:

On Friday, November 15, 2013, we will be hosting a free seminar at the law school for the benefit of enrolled agents, return preparers and accountants. Meeting the Challenge: Tax Dispute Resolution for Non-Lawyers will focus on what specific strategies and techniques tax professionals can utilize on their own, without resorting to legal counsel. Joining me for the presentation will be IRS Chief Counsel attorney John Comeau and Illinois Department of Revenue Board of Appeals senior member Alan Marcus. With these two speakers, you are guaranteed a lively and provocative discussion. The seminar begins at 9:00 am (check-in at 8:30) and pre- registration is required: if you would like to join us, please email our staff attorney Nisa, at, or call our secretary, Carole, at 312-906-5213.

Starting in January of this coming year, the Tax Clinic will be known as the Tax and Probate Clinic, as we formally recognize and embrace our expanded services in the area of family property law. More specifically, and based on our now two years of experience providing these client services, we will officially be offering asset protection, property planning, drafting, probate and will contest legal services, with the same dedication to aggressive and ethical representation as our tax controversy practice.

An exciting time for us all.

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