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This article addresses the tension between educational and public service goals in the immediate term for tax clinics receiving funding from the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (“LITC”) program under Internal Revenue Code §7526. The author expresses concern that the LITC Program Office will over emphasize the “number-of-taxpayers served” factor in program evaluation, thereby putting academic clinics at a distinct disadvantage in seeking and/or retaining program funds. By imposing these types of “productivity” measures, there is a tendency to force that particular type of activity, thereby significantly disrupting what otherwise might be a better or different educational model for the use of faculty time and resources. Viewing clinicians as watchdogs of substantive and procedural tax issues affecting the working poor and taxpayers with limited English skills, the author argues that efforts to quantify these efforts are inherently unreliable and might well produce counterproductive effects, such as distracting from the clinical education mission in order to satisfy performance goals.



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