Chapman Tax Law Clinic
Tax Law Clinic

» Tax Law Clinics

The Tax Law Clinic is the oldest clinical program at Chapman University's Dale E. Fowler School of Law, and we are proud to offer both trial and appellate tax clinic opportunities to our students. Through the clinic, Chapman law students have served thousands of taxpayers, saving millions of dollars in taxes since 1997.

In a recent victory, Chapman law students helped a veteran living in near poverty. The Vietnam War veteran and double amputee was being levied by the IRS seeking taxes that grew to over $100,000 because of interest and penalties. He was desperate for a resolution but did not have the thousands of dollars necessary to hire an attorney. Our clinic prepared an Offer in Compromise and based on the clients income and assets resolved his taxes for $500. This gave the veteran a fresh start in more ways than one.

The Tax Clinic

Chapman is currently one of only three law schools in California - and a very small percentage of law schools nationwide - to be awarded a federal grant to operate a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (“LITC”). The law school has been a recipient of a LITC grant award in each year since the program’s inception.

In the trial level tax clinic, law students have the chance to handle cases in many different stages of controversy including case that are in the U.S. Tax Court.  Although students are under the supervision of attorney-professors, the student is expected to take responsibility for all aspects of their cases including: interviewing clients, gathering facts and evidence, performing research, and meeting with the IRS to negotiate a settlement.  If settlement efforts fail, the student may have the opportunity to take the case to trial.

The clinic benefits the clients, students, IRS and the Tax Court. Clients benefit from receiving counsel and representation that they otherwise could not afford; students learn invaluable skills handling live clients while still in law school; the IRS appreciates the assistance in resolving cases at earlier stages of a controversy; and the Tax Court is pleased that our students help settle many cases that otherwise would go to trial.

The Appellate Tax Advocacy Clinic

The law school launched the Appellate Tax Advocacy Clinic course in 2008. This course lets students participate in docketed appellate tax cases conducted under the auspices of The Center for Fair Administration of Taxation. Here, students do not represent taxpayers before the IRS, but rather they participate in drafting amicus curiae ("friend of the court") briefs in significant matters that impact federal, state or local tax law.

Students conduct research on legal issues, draft appellate briefs, and, depending on the jurisdiction of the court and the nature of the case, present their brief before an appellate

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The Student Experience

  • Ryen C. (JD '24)
  • Daniel S. (JD '20)
  • Stephan B. (JD '14)
  • Ryen Cordova Portrait"Working in the Tax Clinic was an enriching experience that allowed me to develop crucial attorney skills, including navigating the Tax Court, negotiating with the IRS, and managing client cases. Resolving clients' tax issues was deeply rewarding and the clinic provided a wealth of knowledge, gained through hands-on experience and guidance from seasoned tax professionals. It is exceptional opportunity to grow as a well-rounded attorney, gaining practical expertise in tax law, surpassing any other legal externship or summer associate position I've held."
  • Daniel S portrait"Participating in the Tax Clinic offered me the opportunity to develop the skills I would need as a practicing attorney, like client relations, legal research and application, negotiating, and legal strategy. Further, specific to tax law, the Clinic taught me how to read and understand statutes and regulations, and how to understand and follow the strict procedural requirements inherent in tax controversy. In addition, the Clinic taught me skills that are often not discussed in the classroom, such as managing client files, timely communication with a client, and firm management in general."
  • Stephen B

    "The Tax Clinic provided me with the opportunity to assist low-income clients in their disputes with the IRS all the way up to the Tax Court. My experience has been very rewarding, and I highly recommend the Clinic to all students that are interested in tax law."


Recent News

Chapman law student successfully argues in Tax Court on behalf of struggling single mother to reverse denial of Earned Income Tax Credit resulting in a much needed refund for the family.

Headshot of man in suit.

Professor George Willis

"The Tax Clinic provides law students with practical skills and knowledge relating to tax law and IRS policies and procedures. Students assist clients from the initial interview process and often argue cases in Tax Court."