Featured Member: Debbie Kohl

14/05/2012 6:21 pm by kbarran in Past Featured Members

Local bank executive prepares tax returns for free; becomes newest Club 211 Lifetime Member


Debbie L. Kohl, CPA
Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer
Broward Bank of Commerce

FORT LAUDERDALE – If you use an accountant to complete your tax returns, you probably know how confusing that maze would be without the help of a competent expert. People who have low to moderate incomes don’t necessarily have simple tax returns. They may have income from a variety of sources, have several dependents, may own or have sold property, and there may have been a death or medical expenses to consider – but can’t afford professional tax return preparation. It can all add up to a baffling mess.

“Fort Lauderdale is such a small community and I find myself running into so many caring people.”

But there are patient souls like Debbie Kohl, CPA and executive vice president and CFO for Broward Bank of Commerce, who see the value in helping people with their annual obligation. Kohl volunteers for VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance), an IRS program that connects specially trained and willing accountants with eligible tax payers.

“I wanted a way to help people using my financial background,” said Kohl. “The VITA program was recommended to me by a member of a board I previously sat on. It seemed like the perfect fit.”

Kohl, a 20-year veteran of the banking industry, recently became a lifetime member of Club 211. Her generous financial commitment to the success of 211-Broward is another example of her record of compassion and giving. Club 211 helps Kohl stay connected by giving her an opportunity to mix her passion for volunteering with networking. “Fort Lauderdale is such a small community and I find myself running into so many caring people who I’ve done business with in the past.” she says.

Kohl also participates in the annual March of Dimes Walk America and has served as Employee Campaign Manager for the United Way. She previously participated in the Hospice of Palm Beach County annual walk, both Palm Beach and Broward Corporate walks, the American Cancer Society’s Great Florida Duck Race and Jack and Jill Children’s Center’s holiday events.

Kohl recounts the feeling she got when she started helping people with their returns. “First there was shock, then gratitude, from individuals who hadn’t realized the amount of the tax refunds they were eligible for,” she said. “These refunds made a tremendous difference in their lives. It was their thanks and gratitude that made the experience very rewarding for me.”

Kohl was instrumental at her previous employer in forming Acts of Kindness for Kids, a charitable foundation providing assistance for medically, educationally or financially disadvantaged children in Palm Beach County, and served as Treasurer of the Board of Directors. She presided as Chairman of the Advisory Board for the State of Florida Credit Union League’s CFO Council and was a member of the Board of Directors of the Palm Beach County Chapter.

Kohl summarizes her philosophy this way, “I try to lead by setting a good example through my own actions and by encouraging other to do the same.”

If you would like to learn more about the VITA program or the other important organizations that Debbie works with, contact her at dkohl@browardbankofcommerce.com, Broward Bank of Commerce, or call her at (954) 761-4907.

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