Cal Poly Low Income Taxpayer Clinic Hits Major Milestones

Cal Poly’s Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) recently shared their incredible success from 2016. The clinic, staffed by largely Cal Poly accounting students in Orfalea College of Business undergraduate and master’s programs and guided by Cal Poly faculty, helps low-income residents of the Central Coast work through major tax fines, fees and levies imposed by the IRS or the state’s Franchise Tax Board. Many of its clients are victims of identity theft or abuse, and many have dealt with the loss of family members, businesses and homes. The clinic’s goal is to work with their clients and government agencies to determine what the taxpayer truly owes and either erase their liability completely or create a fair settlement.

  • The LITC hosted 23 outreach events and 6 educational events (including a “Taxes: Dos and Donuts” event in the Tenaya dorm to inform business freshman about their rights and responsibilities as taxpayers and several events at local senior centers and the United Way)
  • Our Pro Bono Panel volunteers donated 254 hours of service which calculates to a $50,800 value!
    We worked on 86 cases including 11 cases pending in the U.S. Tax Court Cases – we also went to the federal courthouse in Fresno twice to attend the U.S. Tax Court Calendar Call during which time we helped unrepresented litigants with their cases
  • We closed 57 cases
  • We provided 77 tax consultations to community members
  • Reached our goal of obtaining a $100,000 IRS grant – the maximum amount the IRS will award an LITC
  • Total Amount of Money Refunded to our clients through LITC efforts in 2016: $5,431
  • Total Amount of Tax Liability Decreased for our clients in 2016: $568,816

All of the above was done through the efforts of 48 undergraduate students and 12 graduate students.

The LITC was founded in 2010 by the Orfalea College of Business. Director Lisa Sperow says the clinic has saved its clients more than $3 million in tax liabilities since its establishment.

For more information on the LITC, visit