Each year, many local low-income taxpayers face controversies with the Internal Revenue Service with often little or no knowledge of how to find help. With the ongoing recession and high unemployment rates, many taxpayers find it difficult to receive professional tax assistance without paying thousands of dollars. Steven Myers, 64, found professional and immediate one-on-one attention from the Bookstein Tax Clinic, which successfully helped him resolve thousands of dollars of IRS debt free of charge.
“The service was outstanding, and I cannot say enough about it. This gives me the ability to restart my life. I’ve been given the opportunity to get a job, get married again and own property,” said Myers.
Prior to finding the Bookstein Tax Clinic, Myers, a resident of Simi Valley, found himself facing a mountain of tax debt while unemployed. Myers first sought help from a tax resolution firm that did little to help.
“I paid $4,750, and they did absolutely nothing with my file. They were located out of state; there was no follow up and no activity. You wouldn’t know the status of your case unless they called you,” said Myers. “They wanted another $3,200 to continue, and I was unemployed at the time. They made it super difficult for me”.
Frustrated and eager for answers, Myers began to educate himself on the tax process and researched Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITC’s) funded in part by the IRS to represent low-income taxpayers. Myers discovered the Bookstein Tax Clinic, which is funded by the LITC Program and the Bookstein Institute for Higher Education in Taxation. Since it opened its doors at the campus of Cal State University, Northridge in 2008, it has served more than 120 low-income taxpayers who are facing a dispute with the IRS for free each year.
Myers met with Carrie Ngao and Michelle Davies, two M.S. in Taxation students serving as consultants for the clinic. Ngao and Davies represented Myers throughout the 18-month process and handled all the necessary paperwork.
“They took care of everything,” said Myers. Every time they contacted the IRS, there was an immediate response back to me. I didn’t have to wait on phone calls or emails. They kept me comfortable and I was confident they knew what they are doing. They were always responsive and always clear,” said Myers.
With his tax controversy settled, Myers says he is hopeful for the future. Now engaged, he plans to find work and get married. “I’m very fortunate to have found professional people to help me through the process. It’s a real blessing to have this service available,” said Myers.
Myers also says he has learned a valuable lesson throughout the process. “All I’d recommend out of this is for folks to pay their taxes on time, and if you have little or no income and have a tax issue with the IRS, then you see these students at the Bookstein Tax Clinic because you can’t go anywhere else. No one else is going to do this for you free and then do a professional job,” said Myers.