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July 01, 2023

Pro Bono and Tax Clinics Committee

Committee Leadership

Chair

Nancy A. Rossner

Vice-Chairs

Tamara A. Borland

Omeed Firouzi

Robert Probasco

Amy Spivey

James G. Steele, III

About the Committee

Welcome to the Pro Bono and Tax Clinics Committee webpage. This committee carries out a number of functions in an effort to assist low-income taxpayers and start up/small exempt organizations. The history of this committee can be traced to 1976 when the Tax Section first created a formal committee to focus on the needs of low-income taxpayers. At that time the focus of the committee was on assisting section members in connecting with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA) which was a relatively new initiative of the IRS. Almost four decades later, the committee still has a strong commitment to VITA with a particular interest in promoting the Tax Section's goal to assist with military VITA programs.

In addition to promoting pro bono assistance through VITA programs, this committee seeks to address the tax liability and collection issues that impact low-income taxpayers. One of the initiatives of the committee with respect to low-income taxpayer representation concerns pro se taxpayers who petition the United States Tax Court. The committee, under past Chairs Andy Roberson, Keith Fogg, and George Willis, worked with clinics and local bar groups to ensure that a local member of the tax bar or a tax clinic are available at calendar calls in every city where the court sits to assists unrepresented taxpayers.

Another recent initiative is the Adopt-a-Base program. The Tax Section is partnering with the military and the IRS to help train service members become volunteer return preparers through VITA. Many military installations use VITA so members of the armed forces and their families have access to free tax preparation services. 

Under past Chair Andy Roberson the committee undertook a new initiative, Partnering for Pro Bono. Through this initiative, the Tax Section connects nonprofit low-income taxpayer clinics with law firms who provide assistance through direct representation of low-income taxpayers, or through research support, mentorship, and advice.

In addition to these specific initiatives, the committee sponsors programs and workshops that educate low-income taxpayer representatives and public officials on issues impacting low-income taxpayers, including the impact of Internal Revenue Service and Department of Treasury guidance.

In order to effectively carry out our committee's goals, it is necessary for many people to volunteer to work on committee programs and projects. The committee leaders are listed on this page. If you see an issue impacting low-income taxpayers that needs to be addressed, please contact one of the committee leaders. We would also welcome your assistance in being the voice of this underrepresented segment of our population. For more information regarding current programs visit the Pro Bono Opportunities webpage.

Fireside / Poolside Chat Recordings

The Pro Bono & Tax Clinics Committee leadership hosts informal sessions where experts share information on topics of interest to Low Income Tax Clinic and pro bono practitioners. These sessions are free and open to non-members. Below find recordings of some of these recent sessions. 

Stay in Touch with Your Committee: Listserv and Hivebrite

The Tax Section has 37 Each committee has a mailing list (listerv) and a Hivebrite community. Information about and links to both are below. 

Listserv

Committees share news, events, and updates through a dedicated committee listserv. The Tax-LITC listserv is open to everyone, no membership required. You are welcome and encouraged to share resources, events, or ask questions to fellow committee members that are directly relevant. If you are a Section member, you can join the Pro Bono and Tax Clinics committee. You will automatically added to the listserv and will receive email notifications when you join.  Learn more about managing your committees. If you are not a member of the Tax Section and would like to join the Tax-LITC list view the instructions below.

The committee listserv email address for the Pro Bono and Tax Clinics committee is:

Joining the Tax-LITC Listserv

  • If you are a Member of the Tax Section, follow these instructions and join the Pro Bono & Tax Clinics committee in your My ABA account. You will automatically be added to the listserv.
  • If you are not a member of the Tax Section, simply reach out to Tax Staff at these email addresses and we will add you right away: 

Hivebrite

In addition to listserv, each committee has a Hivebrite community. Here, committees can share meeting materials or recordings, committee newsletters, and more. All Tax Connect discussion posts have been moved over to the committee's Hivebrite community

More Resources

Listserv Etiquette

A full FAQ and How to for using listserv is available here. Here are the basic dos and don'ts of using a committee listserv. The committee listserv email address is available above. 

  • Do reply to the listerv with substantive responses (please email “thank you” emails to the individual).
  • Do utilize the member directory to send private messages or individual messages.
  • Do reach out to Tax Staff if you have questions or issues with the community or listerve.
  • Do refer to the FAQ pages for specific problems or concerns.
  • Don’t reply all asking to unsubscribe, please follow the instructions to leave the committee.
  • Don’t post commercial messages.

Join the Committee

This committee is open to all Tax Section members. The listserv is available to anyone, no membership required! If you are a non-member follow the instructions above to join the list.

To join click here and then click Join Committees or follow the detailed steps below. A more detailed committee help page is available here. Not a Section Member? Join today!

  1. Click Log In in the upper right corner of this website.
  2. Log in to your My ABA account. If you do not remember your email address or password, click Need Help Logging In? and follow the instructions.
  3. Once you are logged in, click 'Hi Your Name' in the upper right then click My ABA.
  4. On the My ABA Dashboard page, click on Manage Memberships (a button toward the right with a right arrow).
  5. If you are a Section Member,  you will see Section of Taxation under Specialty Group Memberships & Committees, click Join Committees to the right. If you are not a Section member, consider joining the Section to access our committees.
  6. You will now see a list of Tax Section Committees. To join one, simply click Join next to the name of the committee. A check mark will appear to confirm you have joined. To leave a committee, simply click the check mark and you will see Join reappear indicating you are no longer a member of that committee.
  7. Joining a committee will automatically add you to the committee's listserv. Committees encourage member involvement through these committee listservs, other online platforms, and in-person at our meetings and events. 

Have a Question or Need Assistance? Contact Staff

If you have questions contact staff at the email addresses below and we will respond as soon as possible!