Bipartisan support for Tax Clinic to benefit community

MLS Tax Clinic
Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh with University of Melbourne Provost Professor Mark Considine and Melbourne Law School Dean Professor Pip Nicholson.

The University of Melbourne welcomes support from the Coalition and Labor parties for a Tax Clinic at the Melbourne Law School, following Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh’s announcement of $150,000 annually to continue the clinic.

The Coalition Government provided $100,000 to the University, as well as nine others around Australia, to set up a pilot clinic this year, which will commence seeing clients in July.

The clinic will provide assistance, advice and advocacy for the community, particularly for ‘vulnerable taxpayers’ who may be on a low income, lack financial literacy or face language difficulties.

The clinic will be staffed by a dedicated clinic supervisor, Melbourne Law School JD students and pro bono tax practitioners to help unrepresented taxpayers and microbusinesses with tax matters, including advising them on their tax obligations and representing them in dealings with the tax office.

Melbourne Law School Dean Pip Nicholson said the clinic will not only be of great benefit to the broader community, but also to the Melbourne Law School JD students who will work in the clinic.

“The MLS Tax Clinic contributes another excellent clinic assisting vulnerable members of our community and enriches the Law School’s existing clinical program, which includes partnerships with community legal centres and clinics focusing on sustainability, the building of relevant digital applications for not-for-profit entities and disability human rights,” Professor Nicholson said.

“This tax clinic operates through a new subject from semester two. Students will meet with clients and provide advice and representation services under the supervision of volunteer tax professionals and the dedicated MLS Clinic Supervisor.

“The Australia-wide clinic network will enable comparative experience and development of the best ways to advise this sector nationally.”

University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Duncan Maskell said the announcement will provide some surety for the important program.

“We welcome bipartisan support for an initiative that will deliver benefit for the whole community,” Professor Maskell said.

The Tax Clinic at the University of Melbourne will be running three public information sessions in May on ‘Taxpayer Rights and Obligations and ATO Support’, ‘The Gig Economy: Tax Consequences and Employment Rights’ and ‘Investment Income: Tax Consequences’. For more information, visit law.unimelb.edu.au/tax-clinic.

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