Justice In Action: Legal Aid Profile/Chicago Volunteer Legal Services
James, a single father who works hard to provide a good life for his two children, rightfully claimed the children under the Earned Income Tax Credit. Unfortunately, the Internal Revenue Service did not believe that James had children! After sending him a Notice for Deficiency, the IRS not only froze his tax refund of over $6,500, but also assessed him more than $1,200 in fines. James had plenty of documentation showing he was entitled to the refund, but his only chance of getting it and avoiding the penalties was to contest the IRS’s decision in Tax Court. Facing the daunting task of taking on the IRS, James came to Chicago Volunteer Legal Services (CVLS) for help.
Luckily, with less than two weeks before James had to file in Tax Court or else lose the audit, CVLS volunteer attorneys Andrew Roberson and Levi Kahn of McDermott, Will & Emery LLP agreed to take his case. This dedicated pro bono duo reviewed James’ documents, crunched the numbers and saw that their client was clearly entitled to the refund. After filing a petition in Tax Court, Mr. Roberson and Mr. Kahn submitted a report detailing every deduction and tax credit to which James was entitled and why he was entitled to each one. The IRS was left with no choice but to concede. Victory!
CVLS provides free legal services to low income clients in and around Chicago – from Rogers Park to Englewood, from the Loop to Austin and the suburbs, CVLS is there. Last year, 2,315 active CVLS volunteer attorneys and 12 staff attorneys helped 19,136 people in legal crisis. This year, CVLS celebrates 50 years of excellent pro bono service. Click to learn more about CVLS.
This article was reprinted and edited with permission from Chicago Volunteer Legal Services. The story originally ran in their April 2014 e-newsletter.