Center for Taxpayer Rights

A Project of the Center for Taxpayer Rights

News About LITC Connect

LITC Support Center Launches New, Interactive Q/A Function in LITC Connect 

LITC Support Center is pleased to share the formal launch of the LITC Connect site’s Q/A function. Here, registered members will have the opportunity to collaborate in the sharing of knowledge and resources interactively. Members will also have the opportunity to perform filtered searches for shared content. Members (i.e., LITCs and volunteers who have created a profile in LITC Connect) can access the Q/A segment in the top banner of their account.  If you haven’t yet signed up for LITC Connect, you can do so here.


The Center for Taxpayer Rights is offering training in the use of the Q/A function. If you would like to receive a training on this new function, or if you have questions, please contact  


Meet The Fellows: Ms. Nirali Patel, ’21-’23 Brunswick Public Service Fellow 

Since its establishment in 2008, the American Bar Association Section of Taxation Christine A. Brunswick Public Service Fellowship has nurtured an interest in tax law amongst young attorneys. The Fellowship is named after the late Christine A. Brunswick, former ABA Tax Section Executive Director of years and former NCPP Vice President. Ms. Brunswick devoted her life to advancing the public interest in the areas of tax law and public interest. As part of our Meet the Fellows section every month, the Center will sit with a Fellow for an interview.  


This month, we had the honor of interviewing Ms. Nirali Patel, 2021-2023 Brunswick Fellow. Nirali is a former Fellow at Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS) in the Low-Income Tax Clinic (LITC). Her fellowship project focused on providing education and legal assistance to workers misclassified as independent contractors. Prior to working at GBLS, Ms. Patel interned at Rhode Island Legal Services where she helped clients file tax returns and settle tax debts. Ms. Patel graduated from Roger Williams University School of Law in 2021 and was admitted to practice law in Massachusetts in December 2021. She is currently a part-time LITC attorney with GBLS and is actively working towards obtaining her LLM from Boston University.  


Q: Why Tax Law?   

I attended Roger Williams School of Law, where there is a huge emphasis placed on public interest. That’s actually one of the reasons I attended Roger Williams. When I took a tour, the guide informed me that there is a requisite of 50 pro bono hours for all law students. This was really important to me because I love institutions that not only give back themselves but require their students to do the same. So, when the time came for me to carry out my pro bono service, I was offered the opportunity to do VITA. At this point in law school, I wasn’t sure of what I wanted to do yet. But VITA caught my eye because it’s a life skill that I could learn and involves an area of law that I hadn’t thought of as having a big legal component. So, I did VITA and fell in love. I decided to enter the tax world!  


Q: What happened next?  

A: I went to a networking event, and I met Stephanie Coleman who was the director of the LITC at Rhode Island Legal Services. She extended the opportunity to intern for her and to become her clerk. That’s really where I fell in love with the tax world, when I was exposed to the legal side of it. She also encouraged me to apply for the Christine Brunswick Fellowship. Unfortunately, Stephanie left Rhode Island Legal Services. However, before she left, she connected me with Luz Arevalo who is my current supervisor and is helping me with my tax project!  


Q: Wow! Networking is so important! It sounds like you were at the right place at the right time. What is the focus of your Fellowship?  

A: My Fellowship Project is on misclassification. I’ve broken it down into three categories to better measure my performance and solutions. The three categories are: advocacy, helping taxpayers recognize they are misclassified and then helping correct their returns; policy, what systems can be changed in Massachusetts to alleviate taxpayer misclassification and promote equity; and community outreach, which involves getting the word out about misclassification, what it is, and what you should do if you are misclassified.  


Q: What are things like for an LITC in Boston? Do you have challenges that are unique?  

A: Things are great in Boston. I have an amazing team. My supervisor and co-worker, Luz Arevalo and Angela Divaris, are the best mentors. In terms of challenges, Boston does have greater diversity, which is amazing. However, sometimes I lack the language skills, so I have to use an interpreter. When you use an interpreter the feelings and the emotions can get lost in the interpretation process. To overcome that barrier, I try to use interpreting services in person rather than over the phone. That way, I can read the client’s emotions better.  


Q: What have you learned through the Fellowship?  

A: I have learned so much! There is so much to tax law. I have learned how to trace refunds, complete Offers and Compromises, and evaluate a client’s case to determine which tax credits are available to them. I’ve also learned intricacies of smaller issues. For example, with the 2021 Tax Relief, I’ve learned about who should or should not be claiming their kids when a divorce exists. Smaller things make the biggest differences - who is getting the tax credit, [Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers] ITINS - I didn’t know what ITINS were until I came to Greater Boston Legal Services! I didn’t know that undocumented persons also have a tax obligation. I’ve learned so much while being here.  


Q: I can see how this ties right back into Community Outreach and educating people. It’s important, especially with marginalized populations, to gain trust in order to be able to help them.  

A: Gaining trust is extremely important! You need to know the people that they trust, and word of mouth has to travel from within the community. I learned that within the first six months at GBLS. At first, I was going out and talking but things weren’t really getting through, and it wasn’t until I spoke to the right people, and they helped get the word out and to trust me.  


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