As part of Kostelanetz’s commitment to pro bono work and giving back to the tax community, on December 5, 2022, Kostelanetz sponsored the New York County Lawyers Association’s (NYCLA) Tax Court Calendar Call Pro Bono Program.
NYCLA’s U.S. Tax Court Calendar Call Pro Bono Program matches attorneys with unrepresented taxpayers before the U.S. Tax Court. In Fiscal Year 2021, about 86% of cases petitioned to the Tax Court involved pro se taxpayers, a trend that has been continuing over the last decade, per the National Taxpayer Advocate Annual Report to Congress (2021), at 194. As noted by the National Taxpayer Advocate, “Self-represented taxpayers are disadvantaged in tax litigation as they are unfamiliar with the Tax Court’s Rules of Practice and Procedure, Federal Rules of Evidence, and the nuances of negotiating with the IRS.”
Recognizing these taxpayers’ need for assistance, NYCLA developed the Calendar Call program. Volunteer attorneys are available to counsel taxpayers about their rights, Tax Court procedures, and the merits of their cases, and they may negotiate a resolution with attorneys for the Internal Revenue Service or take on a case for trial or briefing. NYCLA’s volunteers provide a vital service to unrepresented taxpayers and the Tax Court, and Kostelanetz is proud to participate.
Judge Emin Toro presided over the December 5, 2022, calendar call. Several Kostelanetz attorneys and paralegals volunteered, including Megan L. Brackney, Sharon L. McCarthy, Randi Lane Maidman, Garrett Brodeur, Michelle Dubovitsky, and Yuka Saji. The firm provided breakfast and lunch for all the volunteer attorneys and CPAs present at the event.