The MSBA Taxation Section, in conjunction with Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service (MVLS) and the Comptroller of Maryland, has created a new Tax Hotline (443-451-4091) to easily connect low-income Marylanders and recently furloughed federal employees, including contractors, with volunteer attorneys and other tax professionals offering free guidance and resources for taxpayers in need of help.

And estimated 172,000 federal employees and government contractors were impacted by the recent government shutdown. Taxation Section Chair Beverly Winstead says that the Tax Hotline is intended to help address the “significant challenges” that result from a lost source of income.

“The government was shut down for 35 days, and some of those employees and contractors that were furloughed might be facing issues with their taxes as a result of the shutdown,” says Winstead. “We want to be available to offer them guidance, should they need it.”

Janice Shih, Low Income Taxpayer Clinic managing attorney for MVLS, notes that the shutdown complicated audits, appeals, or collections for those who were already dealing with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) at the outset, creating questions about what to do next.

“Even though the IRS phone lines are working, there can be a significant wait time for a response,” says Shih. “Through the new Tax Hotline, we will provide general advice about resolution of their tax problems, as well as offer resources for individual tax help.”

“We appreciate the opportunity to partner with an outstanding organization like MVLS, as well as the Comptroller of Maryland, to provide this resource to taxpayers,” says Winstead.

Experienced volunteer attorneys, certified public accountants, and enrolled agents will staff the new Tax Hotline Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. For more information, call the Tax Hotline at 443-451-4091.

The Taxation Section is just one of MSBA’s 30 unique Sections that facilitate connections between MSBA members in every field of practice. Organized by practice area, these groups are where MSBA members go to share news and resources, learn from each other via regular events and CLE programming, and stay connected to the profession by way of discussion groups and newsletters. Explore each Section here, and contact the Section’s leadership to learn more about getting involved.