Migration Resource Center Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic a Reality for Staten Island

BY: Victoria Apostol-Marius
Clinic Director, Migration Resource Center Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic

The Migration Resource Center Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) is a dream come true for our team and low-income Staten Island residents

MRC was established in 2015 as a nonprofit providing legal immigration services in Staten Island, New York. In the past four years, the organization has developed into a well-known organization serving close to 1,000 clients. We still remain a small team, but we have huge aspirations. One of which was to apply for LITC funding to establish the first clinic here in Staten Island. In 2018 we initiated the process for funding but soon realized we did not have the infrastructure and requirements necessary to proceed. The following year, we worked tirelessly to make sure we had the foundation needed to apply. Sue Burns, our grant writing manager, made sure we complied with the requirements for the grant and made sure we didn’t miss a single deadline! In June, upon completion, we submitted our new application and got right back to work. In November, when our Executive Director, Frederik Stefani (who serves as the Qualified Business Administrator) received the call about MRC being awarded $50,000.00 to
establish and run the first LITC in Staten Island, we were filled with excitement. Although we were a bit surprised, it was finally official.

Since the call, we’ve focused on establishing a strong base and producing a dedicated team. As an organization, we use today’s technology to connect, work, and continually strengthen our unit. Several members of MRC work from various states, conducting consultations and intakes, making “distance” no issue at all. We have adopted this model for our LITC as well. Our Qualified Tax Expert (QTE) is located in Phoenix, Arizona, while the Clinic Director (CD) and Qualified Business Administrator are located in Staten Island, New York. Our QTE, Chanel Harris is a certified attorney with several years of experience in the tax field. Clinic Director, Victoria Apostol-Marius, has a background in program management, human rights, and
education. We’ve actively tried to create a balance between these roles, ensuring that the clinic runs smoothly while we achieve our numerical goals.

We are very excited to have the opportunity to build a LITC from the ground up and continue to expand the range of services offered to residents here in Staten Island. We are aware of some of the challenges that a first year clinics usually face, but we are enthusiastic about gaining more knowledge and overcoming any obstacles along our path. Here at MRC, we believe low-income taxpayers deserve to have access to services that allow them to exercise their liberties and our mission is to empower those same individuals with information about the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, as well as assisting in solving any issues that may arise along the way. We are eager
to work with other LITCs like our own and hope to solidify our place in this robust family. We are in this for a long run.

Migration Resource Center Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC)
provides free tax representation before the IRS to
low-income taxpayers.
Call us: (646) 827-2959
Visit our Website: 
www.migrationusa.org/low-income-taxpayer-clinic/

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