IRS employee organized 90,000 volunteers to help file tax returns

Wednesday - 6/20/2012, 10:48am EDT

Michael McBride, supervisory financial analyst, IRS

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When tax time approaches every year, there is a mad scramble to accountants for assistance to make sure finances are in order. But not everyone can afford that luxury and could put themselves in tax trouble without realizing it.

Enter Supervisory Financial Analyst Michael McBride of the Internal Revenue Service in Atlanta, Ga. He helped form partnerships between more than 4,000 organizations and nearly 90,000 volunteers to help make sure disadvantaged people file their taxes properly. This achievement has him competing against four others in the Citizen Services Medal Category for a Service to America Medal.


Federal News Radio asked the Sammies finalists to tell us a bit about themselves.

What three words best describe your leadership philosophy?

Leadership by example.

What's the best piece of advice (or words of wisdom) you've ever received and who gave it to you?

I was 15 years old and working as a summer intern at the IRS in August 1970. The Assistant Regional Commissioner visited my office and presented me with an award for significant accomplishments. He stated, "Please consider a career with the IRS. We need young men like you." I was astounded that an executive of the Regional Commissioner's level would not only give me a monetary award and write me a letter, but would actually present both in person. I have the original 1970 award letter framed and on display in my office.

Who is your biggest role model and why?

My mother, Dessie M. McBride, is my biggest role model. She is solely responsible for my being employed with the IRS in June 1970. Although she became a widow with three small children in 1968, she not only attended night school to obtain a nursing degree, she ensured all three children pursued post-secondary education.

What's the biggest challenge you've had to overcome (personally or professionally) and how did you overcome it?

The biggest professional challenge I had to overcome was passing all four parts of the Certified Public Account (CPA) examination while working full-time as an Internal Revenue Agent. This required a lot of discipline with respect to attending classes after work three nights per week and doing homework two nights per week and weekends.

The biggest personal challenge was encountered while serving as Chairman of the Finance Committee of my church. Based upon my childhood experiences, I have a strong desire to develop programs that assist with the well-being of elderly widows in the congregation. To that end, during the payment of Economic Stimulus checks in 2009, I had to overcome trust issues that are inherent to the elderly and persuade them to provide me with personal financial information by which a federal tax return could be filed (even if they had no filing requirement). I continually held meetings with groups of elderly widows, ministers and committee chairpersons and explained the benefits of the Economic Stimulus Program. Eventually, I was able to prepare approximately 50 tax returns free of charge and elderly people that need the money in the worst way received the $250.00 Economic Stimulus payment.

What's the last thing you read and what's next on your reading list?

I partner with the military to provide free tax return preparation to active military personnel. I have become interested in reading military history. The last thing I read was With The Old Breed by Eugene Sledge. The next book on my list is Helmet for My Pillow by Robert Leckie.

What's your favorite bureaucratic phrase?

My favorite bureaucratic phrase is: The result of an action has "deminimus" value.

Meet the rest of the 2012 Sammies finalists.