Longtime JDC Volunteer Jeffry Bernstein Dedicates Pro Bono Work to Low-Income Taxpayers

Sarah Drinkwater, Supervising Attorney, Tax Project

Jeffry Bernstein

Jeffry Bernstein

The Justice & Diversity Center (JDC) is pleased to recognize Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass Partner Jeffry Bernstein as our volunteer of the month for his work with JDC’s Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC). Bernstein has volunteered with JDC since 2000.

LITC provides full-scope and limited-scope representation to low-income taxpayers facing controversy with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This includes a range of matters from negotiating Offers in Compromise to representation before the United States Tax Court. JDC also hosts a “Day of Docket” program in which experienced tax attorneys provide legal and procedural advice to unrepresented litigants during the tax court’s calendar call. Bernstein has been a dedicated volunteer with both programs.

Bernstein has represented or advised taxpayers on over 30 cases since 2009. He is driven to volunteer because he enjoys helping individuals navigate the complexities of the United States tax system and providing them comfort during such a stressful time. For example, Bernstein represented a low-income taxpayer who routinely had to travel to Alaska for work. The IRS had disallowed his business expenses, resulting in a large tax liability and the taxpayer had petitioned the tax court to dispute the assessment. As a result of Bernstein’s representation, the IRS allowed the deductions, resolving 100 percent of the tax liability.

Bernstein chairs Coblentz’s tax department and through his leadership, the firm regularly accepts full-scope cases on behalf of low income taxpayers. Coblentz is also a strong supporter of other JDC projects and the Right to Civil Counsel Pilot Program.

Bernstein is a native of Queens, New York, but has lived in the Bay Area since 1977. When not practicing law, he “loves being outdoors, even though lawyers spend so much time inside.”

To find out how you or your firm can assist low-income taxpayers through LITC, email probono@sfbar.org.