Fifteen veterans attended a presentation by USD Legal Clinics’ Federal Tax Clinic at Veterans Village of San Diego (VVSD) on Friday, November 18th. Clinic interns Sam Brotman, Sabrina Blomquist and Mark Laemmle provided the presentation, under the supervision of Law Clerk Mauro Colabianchi and Outreach Coordinator Patty O’Deane.
Intern Sam Brotman covered the portion of the presentation regarding IRS collections including setting up installment agreements, offers in compromise, currently non-collectible status and the IRS appeals process. “Many attendees asked questions that were specific to their individual circumstances,” comments Sam. “ And many had IRS collection issues or had not filed returns in several years. It was rewarding to put the skills I learned in the clinic into practice.”
Other topics covered in the presentation included audits and EITC, as well as an opportunity for questions and answers afterward. The diverse group of attendees was made up African-American/Black, Asian, Latino and Caucasians ranging from 31 to 65 years of age with an income ranging from $0 -$42,650. The majority of the veterans attended the presentation to learn more about EITC and stated that the Q&A time was the most helpful.
“My favorite moment was when one of the veterans came up to me after the presentation and I gave him some advice that will end up getting him a refund,” recalls Sam. “He was very anxious about his situation with the IRS and it was nice to alleviate his worries.” All of the attendees were US Veterans that learned about the presentation from Veteran’s Village of San Diego. VVSD extends assistance to needy and homeless veterans of all wars and eras and their families by providing housing, food, clothing, substance abuse recovery and mental health counseling, job training and job search assistance.
In addition to providing much-needed assistance and information to San Diego’s low-income residents, the presentations provided by the Legal Clinics assist the law interns and clerks in practicing their skills. “I believe these outreach presentations are a good way to practice our communication skills,” adds Federal Tax Clinic Law Clerk, Mauro Colabianchi. “Attendees at these presentations often ask many questions and it is the task of the student presenters or the law clerk to effectively communicate to the audience what the procedure is for certain tax issues. In that way these presentations also help students and the Law Clerk to reflect on what they have been doing at the clinic, and to internalize the entire process.”
USD Legal Clinics provide an array of such presentations to many partner organizations within San Diego County that assist our low-income residents. The Clinics has a long-standing relationship with VVSD and provides an informational booth in the legal assistance section of VVSD’s annual Stand Down event. For more information about Veteran’s Village of San Diego, visit their website.