Recently I asked our members if they would be willing to support a program to provide pro bono taxpayer representation services to returning combat veterans (RCV). In less than three hours – in the middle of tax season – 69 members committed to support the program. The request asked each participant to commit to two cases per quarter. They all agreed, but some took it a step farther, they responded that they would take two cases per professional in their firm. The first person with that response said. “I have 10 professionals; therefore, you can count on us for 20 cases per quarter.”
Since that initial 3 hours of sign-ups, the list of participating members has grown to 120 members. I’m confident that list will continue to grow as we end tax season and everyone catches up on their email reading.
The point of the program is to show our appreciation for the sacrifices our combat vets have made for all of us. It doesn’t seem right that they should have to deal with the IRS on their own after what they have done for us. Many of them could not afford representation after returning from deployment. Many have given up jobs, all have foregone family time, let’s pay I forward. We also can demonstrate the positive side of our industry by participating in the program.
By way of an update, we were disappointed to learn that Mrs. Petraeus is unable to support our efforts with her new position in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The Dodd-Frank Act prohibits her agency from involvement with any private or non-profit organization.
Undaunted we will continue our plan to announce the program on April 18, 2012. I am attempting to raise media interest in the program and will provide all participants with a press release for their local media once the program is announced.
We have created an application form on the website. We are establishing a program to assure the applicants are RCVs and then the cases will be assigned based on proximity to members and the members ability to take cases.
Questions or enlisting in the program are addressed by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.