Get legal tax
clinic help

Got A Letter From the IRS?

Don’t panic! We know that having a dispute or problem with the IRS or Illinois Department of Revenue can be expensive and confusing if you don’t have the right help. Our Tax Clinic provides free assistance to help you with resolving your tax issues.

Common Tax Issues


If the IRS or Illinois Department of Revenue believes that there are errors on your tax return, you may be audited. During an audit, you are required to prove that you qualify for the deductions and credits claimed on your tax return. We can help you understand which documents the IRS or Illinois Department of Revenue requires and, if needed, we can represent you during the audit.

Past-Due Tax Returns

Depending on your income and filing status, you may be required to file past-due tax returns. Please note, our Tax Clinic can help you prepare and file these past-due returns only if you have received a letter from the IRS or Illinois Department of Revenue requesting them. For all other past-due tax returns, you may be eligible to receive assistance at one of our Money Action Days.


If you owe money to the IRS or Illinois Department of Revenue, they can garnish (levy) your wages or Social Security benefits, levy your bank account, or file a lien—all actions that can make it difficult to maintain good credit. If you disagree with the amount that the IRS or Illinois Department of Revenue says you owe, CEP can investigate and work to correct it. If you agree with the amount you owe, CEP can help you set up an affordable payment arrangement.
Learn more: I Owe a Tax Debt: What are My Payment Alternatives? (Spanish, Chinese, Polish)

Employee vs. Independent Contractor Disputes

Some employers improperly classify their workers as independent contractors rather than employees. At tax time, the affected workers often find themselves owing more to the IRS than expected. If a worker has improperly been classified as an independent contractor, we can work with the IRS to have the classification corrected.  

Learn more: Are You an Employee or an Independent Contractor? (Spanish, Chinese, Polish)

Innocent Spouse

When spouses file a joint tax return, both spouses are jointly and severally liable for the information on the return. The IRS can pursue one or both spouses for the entire tax debt shown on a tax return, even if the debt is caused by only one of the spouses. In some circumstances, CEP can file a request asking the IRS to release the “innocent spouse” from this joint and several liability.

Learn more: Tax Relief for Divorced and Separated Taxpayers (Spanish, Chinese, Polish)

Cancelled Debt

The IRS generally treats canceled debt as taxable income that must be reported on your tax return. Typical examples include canceled credit card, mortgage, or car loan debt. However, in some circumstances, this “cancelation of debt” income may properly be excluded from your taxable income. We can help determine whether you qualify for this exclusion and amend prior year tax returns, if needed.

Learn more: Do You Have Cancelled Debt?

Qualifying for Tax Clinic services

Our Tax Clinic helps low income individuals and families who have a controversy with the IRS or Illinois Department of Revenue and who would like to dispute their liability or negotiate affordable payment arrangements. You can qualify for a Tax Clinic representation if your current household income is less than the following thresholds. Add $10,800 for each additional family member over 6.

Family Size

Income No More Than