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Students Argue Case in United States Tax Court

October 16, 2018

By Lauren Jackson, 3L
Four Toledo Law students attended the U.S. Tax Court in Cleveland on October 1, 2018 as part of the law school’s Tax Controversy Clinic. Ariel Berger, Grace Borell, Lauren Jackson, and Tom Kirkham traveled early Monday morning to attend the calendar call and to assist taxpayers that did not have legal representation.

The Tax Court announced the presence of the clinic at the beginning of the calendar call, giving taxpayers the opportunity to consult with the student attorneys. “Tax Court was a great experience because we had the chance to assist pro se taxpayers and offer advice for resolving their disputes,” Kirkham said. “It was also nice to see first-hand how the Tax Court operates.” 

The Tax Controversy Clinic also handled a trial in the Tax Court for one of its clients. In the afternoon, Borell and Berger argued their client’s case before the federal judge. Borell gave the opening statement and presented the taxpayer’s case to the court. “It was very intimidating, but once I started talking I felt a lot better because I knew my case so well,” Borell said. 

After opening statements, Berger was responsible for examining the taxpayer. “We have spent the past several months preparing this case for court,” Berger said. “I had prepared questions which were necessary to introduce the evidence needed for the case.”

The judge did not rule on the case at the time of trial, but rather ordered the parties to file supplemental briefs prior to the decision. “Our student attorneys did an excellent job preparing and presenting the case,” Clinic Director, Chris Bourell, said. “Now that we have framed the issues for the court and introduced the evidence, the student attorneys’ next job will be to prepare written arguments for submission.” 

The Tax Controversy Clinic provides assistance to taxpayers in handling disputes with the Internal Revenue Service. In order to give law students valuable experience in handling actual tax cases, the Clinic offers free representation to taxpayers who are involved with IRS audits, appeals, and collection matters.

Last Updated: 10/16/18