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Dan Edelman, a certified public accountant, consults with callers while attorney Jacob Peek of Driver, McAfee, Peek & Hawthorne speaks with Ch. 12/25 reporter Ken Amaro.

Pro bono tax professionals provide guidance on First Coast News

by Kathy Para, The JBA Pro Bono Committee Chairwoman

It was that time of the year again and on March 29, with the income tax deadline of April 15 quickly approaching, some found themselves stressed out or confused as to whether they’d done all the things on their tax checklist and whether they were making the most of their deductions. 

For those people, First Coast News, The Jacksonville Bar Association Pro Bono Committee and Jacksonville Area Legal Aid were there to help.

On March 29, attorney Jake Peek, of Driver, McAfee, Peek & Hawthorne, and accountant Dan Edelman, of Dixon Hughes Goodman, volunteered to visit First Coast News and answer questions over the phone to assist members of the public with their individual or corporate income tax questions. 

The event was held from 5-6:30 p.m. and allowed callers to receive free tax guidance through one-on-one private conversations with the tax professionals. The callers remained anonymous and conversations were generally limited to 10-15 minutes. 

Peek and Edelman answered questions and referred callers to other available resources including The Jacksonville Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral Service, Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, Three Rivers Legal Services and the Internal Revenue Service taxpayer website.

The Legal Phone-In event was the second successful event of its kind. In December 2011, a similar event was held that provided guidance and information to callers regarding consumer matters. 

Much like the neighborhood Ask-A-Lawyer events, the Legal Phone-In events provide opportunities to have legal questions answered for free. Many times a person simply needs guidance on possible next steps and acquire information on community resources. 

This knowledge is many times all that is needed to resolve matters that are causing stress and instability in people’s lives and families. 

Attorneys interested in pro bono opportunities throughout the Fourth Judicial Circuit are encouraged to contact Kathy Para, The Jacksonville Bar Association Pro Bono Committee chairwoman, at kathy.para@jaxlegalaid.org or 356-8371, ext. 363.

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