IRS, AICPA Honor Post-Hurricane Pro Bono Work

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has presented the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) with an award for “outstanding partnership,” which recognized the Institute’s efforts at recruiting volunteers to prepare tax returns for victims of Hurricanes Katrina, Wilma and Rita in 2005.


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The award was presented to AICPA by Richard Morgante, commissioner of the IRS Wage & Investment Division, at the National CPA/IRS Tax Issues Meeting in Washington, D.C., November 8.

“It’s a great example of what can be achieved when government and the private sector work together,” said Tom Ochsenschlager, an AICPA vice president. “CPAs in the Gulf states in particular worked tirelessly to help taxpayers file their tax returns in the wake of these devastating storms.”

A big part of the AICPA’s effort was creation of a similar award. The Institute’s Tax Public Service Award came about in August as incentive for public service and to tax pro bono work by members. The AICPA acknowledged the volunteer effort by awarding the new Tax Public Service Award to Ernst & Young at a conference in Washington, D.C.

Tom Purcell of the AICPA Tax Executive Committee said, “This was a case where the profession mobilized on a national basis to help with a regional tragedy.” He said Ernst & Young coordinated with the IRS Wage & Investment Division, AICPA and the state CPA societies to set up training and coordination for firm volunteers.

Purcell noted that Ernst & Young volunteers prepared complex tax returns that were referred to them by IRS volunteer clinics. The returns generally involved low-income taxpayers with casualty losses, net operating losses or amendments to prior tax returns.

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