Just over a year ago, Jim Floyd and his wife were about to go to dinner when he decided to take some medicine for what he thought was a migraine. But when his wife asked him a question a few minutes later, the words that came out of Jim’s mouth were nonsensical. As someone who used to teach courses on emergency care for strokes, Jim knew exactly what was happening to him. He was experiencing a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA), sometimes referred to as a mini-stroke, and he was suffering from expressive aphasia, his speech rendered largely incoherent.
His wife took him to the hospital, and they discovered the episode was blood-pressure related. Jim was placed on medication and although he has not had a problem since, the entire experience was frightening. “It was a little bit of a wake-up call,” says Jim. For several months, he had been meaning to contact the Legal Clinic about volunteering in the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) as an enrolled agent (EA), but had never gotten around to it. “Life just got in the way,” says Jim.
After his stroke though, he decided not to waste any more time. “God’s plan for me is to be of service to others,” says Jim. “And I have known this in my heart and soul since I was a child.” For his entire working life, he spent his time in two intertwined fields: Public safety and continuing adult education. At some point, he became intrigued by the idea of going to Tax School. “I didn’t know if I wanted to do it as a career,” he says. “But regardless, I needed to be smarter about my own taxes.”
He immediately fell in love with Tax School and told his instructor he wanted to become an enrolled agent, which is a federally authorized tax practitioner. Jim completed his program and then passed the three-part exam to become an EA, and was issued his license on April 15.
When he came to the Clinic, he says, “My initial plan was to not work and to just volunteer here. That’s how much I enjoyed it.” But when a new opening in the LITC came up, Jim knew he had found the right fit. He applied for and was offered a full-time position in the department. “Not only can I show my faith, but I can do it in concert with others that show their faith through their work,” says Jim. “We are here for service and making a difference in lives.”
Ever the learner, Jim already has his sights set on the next challenge. “As an enrolled agent, administratively, I can do anything that an attorney here at the Clinic can do before the Internal Revenue Service,” he says, “but I cannot practice in Tax Court.” To rectify this, Jim is studying for an extremely difficult exam that would allow him to practice in Tax Court.
When asked what he is most excited about in his new position, Jim smiles. “The truthful answer is everything,” he says.
To learn more about our LITC, please visit our website.