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Kathryn Sedo Retiring Ending Tax Clinic Links to Early Formation

Posted on May 31, 2016

Last week I wrote about the retirement of Chris Sterner, a long time friend who worked with me at Chief Counsel’s office. Today, I write about the retirement of Kathryn Sedo who is my friend and fellow tax clinic director. Professor Sedo’s retirement from the University of Minnesota will remove from the clinic community the person with the longest tenure by many years. The low income taxpayer clinic at the University of Minnesota began in 1981 and she was there at its beginning. The tax clinic there was the fourth one ever to start. If you want more history on tax clinics, you can read an article I wrote a few years ago on the growth and development of these clinics. At the most recent ABA Tax Section meeting, Les and I were on a panel examining Professor Sedo’s career and reflecting back on the tax clinic movement. In preparing for the panel, I created a mostly accurate chart of the legislative, administrative, Tax Court and public comment events that impacted the low income taxpayer community during her tenure. Les created a Power Point slide show he used to discuss some of the many cases Professor Sedo and her students tried before the Tax Court and the 8th Circuit.

When someone departs from a community who embodies almost the entire life span of a movement, the passage is worth noting and honoring. The tax clinic movement that began in 1974 with the creation of the first clinic at Hofstra Law School has come a long way. Today, there are over 130 clinics representing individuals in every state. The number of low income taxpayers with a tax controversy problem who receive representation is still very low but the clinic presence has impact on the community that goes beyond individual cases. From the testimony of Nina Olson and Janet Spragens leading up to the 1998 legislation, to the many comment projects involving issues impacting low income taxpayers to the changes in Tax Court Rules and procedures that have resulted from this movement, the population of low income taxpayers is impacted in many ways other than individual case representation.

Professor Sedo was a pioneer in this movement and a leader up to the point of her retirement. We wish her well.

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