What are common misconceptions about the IRS? What tips do you need to know to avoid tax scams? And what can you do if you become the victim of a tax scam or identity theft? In this episode of Courting Justice, senior staff attorney and Director of the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic Dee Dee Gowan joins Betsy Isenberg, Director of the Consumer Protection Division at the Office of the Indiana Attorney General, in answering these questions.
Last year, veteran John Cooper* chose to visit our Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) when he realized he needed help sorting out his tax debt with the IRS. After sustaining an injury to his leg years earlier, John was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps. Since that time, thanks in part to his disability, John struggled to find steady work.
Executive Director Chris Purnell shared some important statistics with those in attendance at Jazz for Justice. Like how 101 immigrant victims of violent crime were able to get temporary status in 2015 with the help of the Clinic. Also in 2015, the Clinic helped save 490 families from foreclosure. The Center for Responsible Lending estimates that every foreclosure prevented results in $21,000 in real savings for a community. That’s $10,290,000 worth of savings for the community in just one year.
This April, we explored the idea of Abundant Wisdom, with Chris providing our introduction at the beginning of the month. We then took an especially close look at how wisdom applies to financial matters. We learned more about our Building Wealth program and about what to do if you get an examination letter back from the IRS. We also met a woman who was given a second chance thanks to the hard work of Project GRACE.
When someone faces an issue with the IRS, Dee Dee says, “The first thing we have to do is get them in filing compliance so they can access some of the programs that the IRS has to deal with what you owe.” Ultimately, the cost of not resolving these issues can be very high. “Sometimes we’ve found out when someone owed and then didn’t file for years, it was actually erroneous and by not filing they didn’t get refunds that they could have gotten.”