Community Tax Law Project
5206 Markel Road
Suite 100-B
Richmond VA 23230-3044
Mission Statement
The Community Tax Law Project (CTLP) ensures the fairness and integrity of the tax system by providing free legal representation to low-income Virginia taxpayers in tax disputes, educating taxpayers about their rights and responsibilities, and advocating for issues that impact low-income taxpayers.
 
CTLP accomplishes its mission through the generous assistance of a panel of pro bono volunteers as well as in-house legal staff who provide representation to lower income families and organizations who otherwise could not afford professional help. 
Leadership
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Elaine Javonovich
Board Chair Flora T. Hezel Esq.
Board Chair Company Affiliation Office of the Attorney General
Contact Information
Address 5206 Markel Road
Suite 100-B
Richmond, VA 232303044
Telephone 804 358-5855
Fax 804 353-6968
E-mail info@ctlp.org
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 1992
Financial Summary
 
 
Projected Revenue $575,000.00
Projected Expenses $575,000.00
Statements
Mission
The Community Tax Law Project (CTLP) ensures the fairness and integrity of the tax system by providing free legal representation to low-income Virginia taxpayers in tax disputes, educating taxpayers about their rights and responsibilities, and advocating for issues that impact low-income taxpayers.
 
CTLP accomplishes its mission through the generous assistance of a panel of pro bono volunteers as well as in-house legal staff who provide representation to lower income families and organizations who otherwise could not afford professional help. 
Impact
The Community Tax Law Project continued to excel in its mission to provide quality representation, outreach, and education to Central Virginia’s low-income taxpayers, and to increase relationships with community organizations and service providers. CTLP achieved the following goals in 2014:
  • nearly 1,000 low-income families assisted with legal representation, brief advice or educational resources;
  • staff or board members partnered with service providers to conduct 31 educational and outreach presentations;
  • CTLP obtained nearly $1.2 million in tax relief and refunds for its clients.
 
In addition to providing expert legal representation, advice, and education to low-income taxpayers, CTLP’s 2016 goals include increasing outreach and education to the ESL community, primarily to Spanish-speaking taxpayers, and to increase education and representation efforts to taxpayers on the tax implications and reporting requirements of the Affordable Care Act.
Needs
CTLP’s unique mission has sometimes been difficult to convey to “non-tax” people, resulting in both communications and funding issues. The clinic’s major needs involve securing:
 
• adequate funding to carry out programs; particularly funding to increase staff hours and/or hire additional staff to handle increased workload;
• PR and marketing assistance to help with communicating the clinic’s mission; 
• pro bono assistance from qualified tax professionals; and
• website, social media, general technology assistance.
Background
The Community Tax Law Project provides free tax legal help to low-income Virginians experiencing financial harm because of a tax problem. CTLP is a nationally recognized low-income taxpayer clinic (LITC) founded in 1992 by Nina Olson, currently the IRS National Taxpayer Advocate. In 1998, Congress mandated the creation of the LITC program using CTLP’s program as the model. There are now more than 150 clinics nationwide.
 
The clinic assists approximately 1,000 taxpayers and families each year. To qualify for services, income must be at or below 250% of the federal poverty guidelines. CTLP receives referrals from community organizations, legal aid societies, departments of social services, churches, and other service providers to the “working poor.” CTLP staff frequently partner with these groups to provide educational programs to staff and their clients.
 
The clinic -- in-house staff and pro bono panel -- accepts cases at all stages of tax controversy, including examinations, appeals, refund claims, collections and negotiation of payment plans, and representation in administrative hearings and before the United States Tax Court.
 
CTLP provides continuing education and training for pro bono panel members and others. Outreach programs currently focus on Hispanic taxpayers, participants of welfare-to-work programs, victims of domestic violence, elderly and disabled taxpayers, self-employed taxpayers, and taxpayers facing the tax consequences of home foreclosure and other types of forgiven debt.
 
CTLP frequently is invited by the IRS and the LITC Program Office to comment on proposals and initiatives impacting low-income taxpayers, and to provide training to IRS personnel and to other low-income taxpayer clinics.
 
CEO Statement

The Community Tax Law Project is the only organization in Central Virginia providing tax legal assistance to low-income individuals. Without CTLP’s assistance, low-income taxpayers truly would have nowhere else to turn and likely would not prevail in their tax disputes.

Since its inception, CTLP has helped thousands of struggling families. Our services help not only our clients but the communities in which they live. When we successfully help a mother who is being audited for the Earned Income Tax Credit, she receives the credit for the audit year and is eligible for as long as she continues to claim her children. Often this yearly credit is enough to pull her family out of poverty. Generally, she spends the tax credit on food, clothing and necessities locally, in her own community.

Approximately 25% of CTLP’s clients are elderly and/or disabled. When an elderly widow has her meager Social Security benefit garnished, she is not able to meet her basic living expenses. We have witnessed elderly people forgoing food and medicine because of an IRS garnishment. Many of these taxpayers have tried to deal with the IRS on their own but were unable to reach agreement. CTLP is able to get these garnishments released, sometimes working in tandem with the Taxpayer Advocate Office to resolve these emergency cases.

Our services save the federal and state governments valuable resources that would be better focused in other areas. By freeing up refunds and removing improper levies imposed on low-income taxpayers, our services help these families pay for housing and necessities without having to resort to government assistance. Our legal assistance and educational programs also help taxpayers comply with the tax laws, thus helping them to become better citizens.

Board Chair Statement

The Community Tax Law Project (“CTLP”) is a unique nonprofit providing free legal representation to low-income Virginia taxpayers facing tax problems throughout the entire Commonwealth of Virginia. In addition to its small but hard-working staff, CTLP relies upon an experienced panel of volunteer attorneys, accountants, and other tax professionals in Virginia who donate numerous pro-bono volunteer hours to serve CTLP clients. These dedicated volunteers have donated more than $323,000 in pro bono hours to assist with cases. In many of these cases, the legal assistance provided by CTLP in a tax case makes it possible for clients to pay for basic living expenses such as housing costs, utilities, and medicine.

I became involved with CTLP when I completed a clinical placement with the organization as a third-year law student. Shortly thereafter, I joined CTLP as a staff attorney, and now I am honored to serve on its board of directors as President. My continued involvement with CTLP over the past fifteen years has allowed me to witness firsthand the positive outcomes that CTLP’s services have on its clients, and reinforces my belief that CTLP provides a critical service to Virginia’s taxpayers. Imagine losing your job unexpectedly during the cold winter months, but knowing your tax refund will help cover your family’s expenses until you find replacement work. Sometimes a withheld refund is all that stands between a struggling family and financial recovery.

In 2014, CTLP assisted over 900 taxpayers with various tax matters that could not be resolved without legal assistance. Staff and volunteers guided clients through the audit process, brought them back into compliance, assisted them with negotiating collection alternatives, and helped them avoid enforced collection such as wage garnishments and bank levies. CTLP also assisted clients in securing thousands in withheld refunds, and conducted numerous taxpayer educational programs to help low-income individuals comply with the tax laws and achieve financial stability.

While the type of legal assistance provided by CTLP is unique, the challenges that face CTLP financially are not. CTLP has experienced the same financial struggles that many nonprofits have experienced in its continuing efforts to serve Virginia’s working poor. Because of these financial constraints, CTLP has been forced to impose periodic moratoria on accepting new clients due to the tremendous demand for services. Despite such challenges, the positive impact that CTLP and its volunteers have, and continue to have, on the lives of clients has remained constant. We hope that you will join CTLP in its continuing efforts to help make our communities financially stronger.

Areas of Service
Areas Served
Area
Statewide
CTLP serves the entire Commonwealth of Virginia with the majority of clients coming from the Central Virginia area.
Board Chair
Board Chair Flora T. Hezel Esq.
Company Affiliation Office of the Attorney General
Term Jan 2016 to Dec 2017
Email Fhezel@oag.state.va.us
Board of Directors
Board Members
NameAffiliation
Elaina L. Blanks-Green Esq.Norfolk Southern Corp.
Matthew Cooper Esq.Ernst & Young
Nick Harrison CPADixon, Hughes, Goodman
Flora T. Hezel Esq.Office of the Attorney General
Denise M. Holmes CPAKeiter
Timothy L. Jacobs Esq.Hunton & Williams
Christopher S. Johnson Esq.Kaufman and Canoles, PC
William J. Lagos Jr., CFP, EAVerus Financial Partners
Matthew T. Moss CPAMoss & Riggs, PLLC
Mark J. Nelson Esq.Lenhart Pettit P.C.
Bradley Ridlehoover Esq.McGuireWoods LLP
Robert A. Warwick Esq.Thompson McMullan
Kyle H. Wingfield Esq.Williams Mullen
Maura K. Winston Esq.Morgan, Lewis & Bockius
Joshua C. Wykle Esq.Woods Rogers PLC
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 14
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 11
Female 4
Governance
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Written Board Selection Criteria? Under Development
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 100
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 6
Risk Management Provisions
Blanket Personal Property
Workers Compensation and Employers' Liability
Directors and Officers Policy
Disability Insurance
Professional Liability
Standing Committees
Marketing
Executive
Investment
Nominating
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Program / Program Planning
Other Boards
The tables below contain information about other groups that advise this nonprofit on operations and projects.
Advisory Board Members
NameAffiliation
Ms. Elizabeth J. Atkinson Esq.LeClair Ryan
Mr. Craig D. Bell Esq.McGuireWoods
Mr. Neil Birkhoff Esq.Woods Rogers PLC
Mr. Samuel A. Derieux CPARetired
Mr. John W. Flora Esq.Lenhart Obenshain, PC
Ms. Frances F. Goldman Esq., CPAThe Tax Complex
Mr. J. William Gray, Jr. Esq.Hunton & Williams
Executive Director
Executive Director Ms. Elaine Javonovich
Experience Elaine Javonovich was appointed CTLP's Executive Director in December 2003. In her prior position as CTLP’s Pro Bono Coordinator, Elaine witnessed firsthand the devastating effects tax problems could have on low-income families. She would like to further assist CTLP's clients by providing counseling in financial literacy and by increasing self-help measures to empower taxpayers who are able to help themselves.
 
Elaine's undergraduate degree is in social welfare and she has taken numerous post-graduate classes in nonprofit management.  Prior to joining CTLP, Elaine was a self-employed small business owner.
Former CEOs
NameTerm
Mr. Timothy B. Heavner -
Ms. Nina E. Olson Esq.Dec 1992 -
Senior Staff
NameTitle
Ms. Nancy P. Rossner Esq.Staff Attorney
Staff
Full Time Staff 3
Part Time Staff 0
Volunteers 100
Contractors 0
Plans
Organization has a Fundraising Plan? No
Organization has a Strategic Plan?
Whistleblower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
Collaborations
Some of the organizations that the clinic collaborates with, either by receiving referrals, conducting educational presentations, or both, include the United Way MetroCash program; the STARS program (a job-readiness program sponsored by the Richmond and Henrico Departments of Social Services); the Neighborhood Resource Center; Caritas; the Capital Area Agency on Aging – Sr. Connections program; Boaz and Ruth; Legal Information Network for Cancer; The YWCA; Central Virginia Legal Aid Society; Safe Harbor; Legal Aid Justice Center; Clearpoint Credit Counseling; Resources for Independent Living; and Bizworks (a micro-enterprise small business incubator.)
Awards
Awards
Award/RecognitionOrganizationYear
Lewis F. Powell, Jr. Pro Bono AwardVirginia State Bar2001
Programs
Description CTLP's primary program is a low-income taxpayer clinic (LITC) providing free legal representation to low-income Virginia taxpayers with tax disputes, and outreach and education to English as a second language (ESL) taxpayers. Other initiatives include outreach and education to specific groups including those transitioning from welfare to work, survivors of domestic violence, the elderly and disabled, victims of identity theft, and those with cancellation of debt issues resulting from home foreclosure, credit card or medical debt. The clinic also assists the self-employed with their tax issues and educates them about the tax implications of the Affordable Care Act, which the IRS will begin enforcing in the 2015 filing season. CTLP is a leader in the LITC community and provides advice and resources to other clinics nationwide.
Population Served Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent
Short Term Success CTLP’s services have a profound economic effect on the lives of the low-income families it serves.  By freeing up refunds and removing improper levies imposed on low-income taxpayers, our services help these families pay for housing, food, medication and other necessities.  In some cases, the amount of a released refund is several thousand dollars – enough to pull a low-income family out of poverty.

Every taxpayer who contacts CTLP comes away with some piece of information or knowledge about the tax laws that he did not know prior to speaking with us. If the taxpayer prevailed in his case that is an obvious success; however, we also are successful when we can educate the taxpayer if he is not entitled to a certain tax treatment and mitigate the result of that adverse result, for example, by assisting with collection arrangements.  
Long Term Success The low-income taxpayer often leaves the tax agency or judicial process feeling that he did not have an opportunity to obtain adequate representation and did not receive a fair hearing of his complaint. His belief that the tax system is stacked against the working poor leads to resentment of and noncompliance with that system.

CTLP’s services provide hope to taxpayers who feel they are being treated unfairly by a system that is weighted in favor of those who can afford to pay for professional representation. Our services help disenfranchised taxpayers remain in the system and help them to become better citizens, thereby strengthening the system for all taxpayers.  
CEO/ED/Board Comments
CTLP had witnessed a large spike in its caseload following the economic downturn.  However, low-income taxpayers are still experiencing the impact of the downturn as evidenced by the rise in “cancellation of debt” cases the clinic has handled in the past year.  These cases involve taxpayers who have defaulted on, for example, mortgages, car loans, credit cards, and medical expenses, and who owe taxes on the amount of forgiven debt.  The clinic recently has been seeing more of these cases since the IRS generally has three years to audit a return from the time of filing.  Additionally, taxpayers sometimes wait for the collection process to cycle through the various stages before contacting CTLP.
 
As the caseload continues to remain high, CTLP has struggled to provide services to all callers seeking assistance.  Each year CTLP has been forced to impose moratoria and accept only emergency cases during these times.  In addition to recruiting and training additional pro bono volunteers to assist with caseload, CTLP has stepped up its campaign to recruit law student interns to conduct intake, develop cases, and assist staff with legal representation.
Fiscal Year
Projected Revenue $575,000.00
Projected Expenses $575,000.00
IRS Letter of Exemption
Detailed Financials
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201520142013
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
$6,000$25,375$75,956
Government Contributions$150,000$150,000$100,000
Federal$100,000$100,000$100,000
State$50,000----
Local------
Unspecified--$50,000--
Individual Contributions$55,415$57,034$53,328
------
------
Investment Income, Net of Losses($14,591)$14,195$38,584
Membership Dues------
Special Events------
Revenue In-Kind$278,122$345,950$323,698
Other$803--$9,656
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201520142013
Program Expense$451,572$544,586$516,886
Administration Expense$23,526$23,852$26,149
Fundraising Expense$13,864$14,939$13,791
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.971.021.08
Program Expense/Total Expenses92%93%93%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue7%6%6%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201520142013
Total Assets$379,791$405,751$429,256
Current Assets$375,927$402,642$427,368
Long-Term Liabilities$0----
Current Liabilities$31,878$44,625$77,307
Total Net Assets$347,913$361,126$351,949
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities11.799.025.53
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
State Charitable Solicitaions Permit
Solicitations Permit
Solicitations Permit 5/2016View
Comments
Organization Comments