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Pro Bono Spotlight: IRS Virtual Settlement Days, Part 2

As part of Kostelanetz & Fink’s commitment to pro bono work and giving back to the tax community, K&F partners Megan Brackney, Yoram Keinan, Bryan Skarlatos, and Michael Sardar were proud to participate in the most recent IRS Virtual Settlement Conferences in coordination with the IRS’s Office of Chief Counsel on July 28 and 30, 2020. First-year paralegals Emma Westerhof and Jas Singh assisted with each taxpayer’s case.

Ms. Brackney, Mr. Keinan, Mr. Skarlatos, and Mr. Sardar represented six previously unrepresented U.S. Tax Court litigants. The attorneys and paralegals at K&F resolved the taxpayers’ cases by helping them understand issues related to their cases — such as taxability of unemployment compensation and retirement plan withdrawals, substantiation of business expenses and computation of the earned income credit — and explained the Tax Court process.

The July 28 and 30th event marked the second time K&F attorneys have participated in the IRS’s Virtual Settlement Days. On May 9 and 12, 2020, Mr. Keinan and Robert Russell each assisted five taxpayers to resolve their disputes with the IRS.

The IRS has described its Settlement Days as events that “are coordinated efforts to resolve cases in the United States Tax Court . . . by providing taxpayers not represented by counsel the opportunity to receive free tax advice from Low-Income Tax Clinics, American Bar Association (ABA) volunteer attorneys and other pro bono organizations. Taxpayers can also discuss their Tax Court cases and resolve related tax issues with members of the IRS Office of Chief Counsel, the Independent Office of Appeals and Collection. By doing so, unrepresented taxpayers are often able to amicably settle their tax disputes without a trial.”

Traditionally, Settlement Days are held in person. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the current Settlement Days are being held virtually via audio-visual conferencing software, so that taxpayers can safely address their outstanding tax issues.