The American Society of Tax Problem Solvers has launched a program with 70 of the group’s member firms to help returning combat veterans get their tax problems resolved.

A recent article published this week in the Military Times, which also ran in its fellow Gannett publication USA Today, described the tax problems faced by members of the military (see Soldiers Owe the IRS $400 Million). Data from the Internal Revenue Service shows that approximately 30,000 active-duty troops and about the same number of reserve members owe a total of about $390 million in back taxes to the IRS, in part due to the many changes of address they are forced to undergo, and the time they need to spend on combat duty.

The ASTPS said Friday its members have volunteered to represent returning combat veterans for no fee as a way of expressing appreciation for their service. In early March, ASTPS sent a request to members to participate in the program. Despite the fact that they were in the height of the tax season, 70 member firms committed in the first two hours. By the next morning, the number was over 100 who had committed. More firms signed on through the remainder of tax season and ASTPS expects more as soon as the practitioners catch up on reading their mail from ASTPS.

Gregory Tax Resolution & CPA Services PLLC of Redmond, Wash., is one of the firms that have joined the program. They will accept pro bono cases from the area that have enrolled at the ASTPS Web site located at http://ASTPS.org. Applicants must be returning combat veterans with documentation of their deployment location and dates.

The ASTPS said its members have tired of disreputable firms tarnishing the reputation of the industry. Recently, a number of tax resolution firms, including TaxMasters, JK Harris and Roni Deutch have gone out of business after encountering legal and financial problems (see TaxMasters Goes Bankrupt and Tax Resolution Firms Made Promises They Couldn’t Keep).

The ASTPS said its practitioners are committed to demonstrating that they are dedicated professionals with a deep concern for the well-being of their clients. “Of late, the only press coverage about the tax problem resolution industry has focused on the few firms guilty of consumer abuse,” said the group. “ASTPS members are determined to demonstrate that they are not like the abusers.”

The group noted the recent article in USA Today reporting that many military people return home only to face government tax collectors.

“ASTPS found this unconscionable and by offering free representation hope to make the vets aware of the appreciation for their sacrifices,” said the group. “ASTPS also hopes to put the proper face on their industry.”