The American Institute of CPAs and the Internal Revenue Service launched a partnership aimed at providing assistance to taxpayers at local disaster recovery centers established by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

CPA volunteers will soon join IRS employees to staff disaster recovery centers servicing some of the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina.

"With so many American lives disrupted by Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, the ability to expand service by using CPA volunteers should help reduce some of the tax issues victims will face," said IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson, in a statement. "These volunteers will provide the technical expertise and skills necessary to explain the laws regarding disaster-related tax relief."

When the president designates an area to receive federal disaster assistance, FEMA opens local disaster recovery centers where individuals and businesses may register for disaster aid. The IRS assigns employees to staff these local centers to provide tax assistance to taxpayers, and occasionally the agency must augment its capacity to staff the centers.

Under the terms of the partnership agreement, the IRS and the AICPA will test the use of volunteer CPAs at FEMA's disaster recovery centers to facilitate service to those seeking aid. The IRS will then request support from the profession to supplement staff on an as-needed basis.More information regarding disaster tax relief may be found on the IRS Web site at www.IRS.gov, or the AICPA Web site, at www.aicpa.org.

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