As the year (and decade) comes to a close, we want to catch everyone up on the Center for Taxpayer Rights’ activities since it first started operating on August 1, 2019.
First and foremost, we’re focused on organizing the 5th International Conference on Taxpayer Rights, which will be held at the University of Pretoria, in South Africa, on 30 September and 01 October, 2020. The African Tax Institute is hosting the event, and the Conference’s planning committee is putting the final touches on the agenda. This year’s conference theme is Taxpayer Rights, Human Rights: Issues for Developing Countries. One of the issues I’ve been musing on, as I’ve been meeting with folks in the course of working on the conference, is how rarely in the United States we discuss the underlying purpose of taxes – i.e., to provide public goods. It’s easy to think about taxes as a “taking” from me for someone else’s benefit, rather than my “giving” for the public good. When I listen to people from developing countries discuss taxation as a means to achieve sustainable development goals, well, it is humbling. This will be just one topic at our International Conference, and I am looking forward to listening and learning. We’ll be announcing early registration later in January, 2020, so stay tuned!
Second, we’ve been busy establishing the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) Advisory Board, and exploring ways to support LITCs and raise funds on their behalf. Our first initiative in the funding area has been a great success. We are proud to have partnered with Tax Analysts, the nonprofit international publisher, to offer LITCs free subscriptions to Tax Notes Federal and State. To date, 54 LITCs have signed up for the subscriptions, raising over $95,000 in in-kind contributions that the clinics can use to request matching grants from the IRS LITC grant program under IRC § 7526. Thank you, Tax Analysts!
We’re also thrilled to note that Low Income Taxpayer Clinics are no longer unique to the United States. Several business and accounting schools in Australia have started their own clinical programs, and I’m looking forward to meeting and working with them in April in Sydney in conjunction with the ATAX conference sponsored by the University of New South Wales. Folks in UK, Ireland, and South Africa also are interested in the LITC movement. We’ll share more information on these developments in upcoming issues of Taxpayer Rights Digest.
In the meantime, we are continuing to build out our website so it is an excellent resource for persons interested in learning about developments in taxpayer rights around the globe. And I’ve agreed to join the blog Procedurally Taxing as a contributor; you can read my first post on IRS collection strategy here.
We have lots of activities planned for 2020, which I’ll discuss in the next Taxpayer Rights Digest. In the meantime, if you think our work is important and can afford to provide some financial assistance, please click here to make a donation!
On behalf of the Center’s board of directors, thank you for your interest in our work, and have a wonderful holiday season.
Nina E. Olson
Center for Taxpayer Rights