With Nancy Pierce, Field Coach – REAL Solutions®
VITA, or Voluntary Tax Assistance Programs, is an IRS program that offers free tax help to those who qualify and help them take advantage of special tax credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit. In a series of three webinars, Real Solutions will demonstrate how credit unions can provide this service to their community and gain meaningful new relationships with members.
Research by the Government Accountability Office and Internal Revenue Service indicates that between 15% and 25% of households who are entitled to the Earned Income Tax Credit do not claim their credit, or between 3.5 million and 7 million households. The average EITC amount received per family in 2002 was $1,766. Using this figure and a 15% unclaimed rate would mean that low-wage workers and their families lost out on more than $6.5 billion, or more than $12 billion if the unclaimed rate is 25%.
- VITA programs save low-wage working families millions of dollars per year in tax preparation fees.
- According to the National Consumer Law Center, more than $800M dollars in loan and other fees were drained from low income taxpayers in 2008.1
Credit unions can provide the right tax assistance through their own VITA programs or by partnering with other community organizations – and credit unions can provide these consumers/members with the right savings programs steer members away from expensive refund anticipation loans and provide information to help them obtain a better economic future.