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VLSP Recognizes Steven Kravitz as Volunteer of the Month

Thursday, July 29, 2004

  • Organization: VLSP

The Volunteer Legal Services Program of the Bar Association of San Francisco recognizes Steven Kravitz's tireless dedication to VLSP's Low Income Tax Clinic (LITC) by naming him Volunteer of the Month. Steven, who is the General Counsel for CSI Capital Management, is a fine example of an attorney who has really made a difference in the lives of his VLSP tax clients. Since 1992, when Steven started attending tax law clinics, he has taken on over 15 pro bono cases, going above and beyond the usual volunteer caseload.

Steven has always been willing to take a case to help someone out. One such case involved a single mother who worked full-time in a cafe to support herself and her two young children. On her tax return, she had mistakenly claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit for her two children whom she had also claimed as her dependants. As a result, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) selected her return for an audit. When she came to VLSP, she was enmeshed in a seemingly endless cycle of IRS requests for additional documentation and had a block on her refund. She was thoroughly exasperated but still positive in her outlook and eager for legal assistance and guidance. Steven graciously stepped in on the case and represented her through the controversy with the IRS by supplying the necessary paperwork and documentation to clarify the location of her residence, an otherwise daunting administrative procedure.

With Steven's assistance, the client's stressful encounter with the IRS was successfully resolved in her favor. While many VLSP clients often express gratitude, this particular client was so thankful, she stopped by office personally to thank VLSP for helping her find an attorney who was so generous with his time.

Many low income tax clients come to Steven lacking a complete paper trail of records and receipts. Steven recalls a flamboyant artist who had filed a tax return, claiming expenses that she was unable to substantiate. Steven successfully steered her through the aftermath of an audit, settling the case in his client's favor despite the significant odds.

In addition to these memorable cases, Steven enjoys any opportunity to help elderly clients plan their estates. "They don't have a lot," he says, "but what they do have, they want to end up in the right place."

Through LITC, attorneys such as Steven have an opportunity to volunteer their time to help low income taxpayers through controversies with the IRS and the Franchise Tax Board. VLSP's tax program builds on a national initiative to create a nationwide network of low income tax clinics, which provide legal aid for the low-income taxpayer population. A large part of the LITC model is to promote awareness of tax rights and responsibilities, especially among immigrant communities where English is the second language.

Steven is impressed by the care with which VLSP quickly directs clients to the right people. "The program's dedication and professionalism ensures that important cases don't get put on the back burner," he notes.

Steven's outpouring of time and energy on behalf of LITC clients has helped bring peace of mind and sound financial footing to clients who might otherwise run the risk of falling through the cracks. His passion for helping others sets Steven apart as an exceptional VLSP volunteer.



To learn more about volunteering with VLSP's Low Income Tax Clinic, please contact Lisa Wong, Supervising Attorney for Volunteer Services, at lwong@sfbar.orgor (415) 782-8956.

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