Tax Credits for Working Families

Join us for “Telling Taxpayer Stories” – a virtual training and Q&A

February 26th, 2015

For low-income workers at tax time, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites can mean the difference between a tax return that offers a financial boost and one that provides little if any help at all. VITA sites provide free tax preparation services, raising awareness within communities about eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and other tax benefits and ensuring that these credits are collected by tax filers.

Unfortunately, the critical role VITA sites play in communities across the nation is not widely understood. On March 3, Tax Credits for Working Families and the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) will present a webinar on the importance of sharing client stories to help protect and expand VITA services.  Telling Taxpayer Stories, hosted by CFED’s newly-launched Taxpayer Opportunity Network, will provide a virtual training on how to tell compelling stories about the importance of these programs for lower-income workers and attract media attention as VITA Awareness Day approaches on March 10.

Telling Taxpayer Stories

Tuesday, March 3, 2015 | 2-3 PM EST

 Register here

This virtual training is free, but advanced registration is required.

 

 

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News Round-Up: February 23, 2015

February 23rd, 2015

Here are some highlights from the past week’s news on family tax credit issues. Remember – you also can track news coverage throughout the week by visiting our RSS feed, where you can filter news by a specific credit and/or state.

  • New research from the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst further proves that the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is linked to improved public health (Political Economy Research Institute).
  • Erica Williams and Michael Leachman of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) wrote that states looking to strengthen the economy should turn to the EITC (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities).
  • Vermont daycare operators called for an expansion of the state’s Child Care Credit (VT Digger).

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News Round-up: February 17, 2015

February 17th, 2015

Putting Advance EITC Payments to the Test

February 12th, 2015

By Kate Skochdopole

Administering the EITC in quarterly payments throughout the year – rather than as a lump sum at tax time – significantly reduces financial stress among recipients, according to preliminary findings from a new pilot program.

Chicago’s EITC Periodic Payment Pilot Project is now midway through an evaluation of how advance EITC payments may help workers make ends meet throughout the year. The project is a collaborative effort between the Center for Economic Progress (CEP), the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services, the Office of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the Chicago Housing Authority and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The 18-month pilot program administers quarterly EITC payments to 343 families and compares their experience to those of 164 families receiving a standard EITC payment at tax time. The study analyzes both the administrative feasibility and the impact of the two options and can help guide policy decisions around advance EITC payments.

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) recently unveiled a plan to allow eligible lower-income workers to access a portion of their EITC in advance, as an alternative to more costly lending options. The Chicago pilot’s interim report indicates that such a plan could not only benefit workers and their families but is also easy to implement:

  • Because quarterly payments must be calculated in advance, concerns have centered on the difficulty of predicting the amount of an individual’s EITC using their previous year’s tax return. But the study shows the vast majority of EITC recipients receive comparable payments each year, making it feasible to accurately predict who should receive the credit and for how much.
  • Another concern was that sending EITC payments four times per year might require more work and expense for administrators. But because all participants provided bank account information, dispersal of the quarterly payments was uncomplicated and inexpensive.
  • Participants reported feeling less stressed about their financial situation when receiving quarterly payments. When asked to evaluate their stress level around feeding their family, 72 percent of participants receiving quarterly payments reported feeling less stressed versus 33 percent of the control group. Additionally, 39 percent of the quarterly participants reported increased savings versus only 22 percent of those who received lump-sum payments.
  • The results also indicate that the participants themselves prefer the quarterly payments method.   Fully 86 percent of participants said they would take part in the program if it was offered again and only three of 343 participants opted out of the program during the year.

The full report is expected this June. For more information on the Periodic EITC Payment Pilot Project, contact Dylan Bellisle, EITC Pilot Program Manager at CEP, at dbellisle@economicprogress.org.

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News Round-up: February 9, 2015

February 9th, 2015

Here are some highlights from the past week’s news on family tax credit issues. Remember – you also can track news coverage throughout the week by visiting our RSS feed, where you can filter news by a specific credit and/or state.

  • Massachusetts state legislators introduced a bill to increase the state EITC from 15 to 50 percent of the federal credit (Sampan).
  • Maine Governor Paul LePage (R) announced in his State of the State address that he wants to eliminate the state’s income tax, which would also eliminate Maine’s EITC (Governing).

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News Round-Up: February 2, 2015

February 2nd, 2015

Here are some highlights from the past week’s news on family tax credit issues. Remember – you also can track news coverage throughout the week by visiting our RSS feed, where you can filter news by a specific credit and/or state.

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TCWF Releases Four-Part Interview with Professor Kathryn Edin

January 27th, 2015

Before addressing policymakers, researchers and advocates at a January 30th Capitol Hill briefing, Professor Kathryn Edin sat down with Tax Credits for Working Families to discuss her upcoming book, It’s Not Like I’m Poor: How Working Families Make Ends Meet in a Post-Welfare World.

Edin, Distinguished Bloomberg Professor in the Department of Sociology at Johns Hopkins University, and her co-authors Sarah Halpern-Meekin, Laura Tach and Jennifer Sykes provide an on-the-ground, in depth look at how the American safety net benefits low-income workers and their families. The book draws on interviews with 115 lower-income families to determine how they make use of benefits like the EITC come tax time.

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News Round-Up: January 26, 2015

January 26th, 2015

Here are some highlights from the past week’s news on family tax credit issues. Remember – you also can track news coverage throughout the week by visiting our RSS feed, where you can filter news by a specific credit and/or state.

  • In his State of the Union address, President Obama unveiled a tax reform plan that includes expanding the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for childless workers and making permanent key improvements to the EITC and Child Tax Credit scheduled to expire in 2017 (Washington PostColumbus DispatchAEIForbes). Although parts of the president’s plan are endorsed by conservatives like Representative Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) (CNS NewsThe Hill), others have argued that it discriminates against stay-at-home parents (New York TimesWashington PostNational Review).
  • This Friday, Tax Credits for Working Families and the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) invite you to attend an EITC Awareness Day briefing on Capitol Hill. “It’s Not Like I’m Poor: New Research and Political Prospects for the Earned Income Tax Credit and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance” will answer important questions about the EITC, including how workers use it, the role played by Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) programs and the political prospects for these federal policies (Tax Credits for Working Families).

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News Round-up: January 20, 2015

January 20th, 2015

Here are some highlights from the past week’s news on family tax credit issues. Remember – you also can track news coverage throughout the week by visiting our RSS feed, where you can filter news by a specific credit and/or state.

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Tax Credits for Working Families are a Pillar of the President’s Latest Tax Plan

January 20th, 2015

By Lauren Pescatore

This weekend, President Obama unveiled a series of tax reforms that seek to reduce the burden our current tax code places on middle-class workers and their families. The plan would eliminate certain tax loopholes that are available only to wealthy individuals and large corporations while expanding and improving benefits for lower- to middle-income workers.

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