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Personal Assistance 4


Recommendation

The Comptroller’s office will allow its employees to earn compensatory time to aid the families of reservists called up to active duty in completing their federal income tax returns.


Summary

Comptroller employees with tax expertise will be allowed to earn compensatory time if they assist the families of soldiers called to active duty in completing their federal income tax returns. In the past, groups of Comptroller employees have informally assisted families along the Border in completing their earned income tax credit forms. The IRS offers a free program entitled the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program that trains volunteers to help individuals complete their income tax forms. Comptroller employees who participate in the VITA program will be offered compensatory time for helping the families of activated members of the military provided such assistance does not violate the agency’s ethics policies.


Fiscal Impact

Comptroller management will request volunteers who are both willing and qualified to offer families assistance in completing their federal income tax returns. These individuals will be offered basic training through existing IRS programs if so desired and needed, although it is expected that the skill levels of individuals volunteering for this program will be screened by management so that few will require additional training. Managers of the volunteers will monitor the time each employee spent on the project.

Certified Public Accountants who assist others in filing federal income tax returns may be required to pay a $200 Professional Fee. If voluntary assistance through this program necessitated that a Comptroller employee pay this fee, the Comptroller’s office will cover such costs for the employee.

While this assistance to families of reservists will no doubt prove helpful to the families making use of it, the number of such requests is likely to be low and easily managed within existing comptroller resources so this will have no fiscal impact on the state.