Tax reform and federal budget proposal season is in full swing

broken_budgeting_onpageThe recent releases of House Ways and Means Committee Chair Dave Camp’s tax reform discussion draft and President Obama’s 2015 budget proposal are out for review, and the Community VITA field will have plenty of reason to keep our eyes on both. Not the least of which are the two plans’ proposals to reform the Earned Income Tax Credit. Read the rest of this entry

Partnership between Opportunity Nation and National Community Tax Coalition Provides Helpful Lens for Looking at Poverty

Cash and ChangeWhen most people think of taxes, they typically don’t make a connection to the idea of “economic opportunity.” But the truth is, tax time is a crucial moment for many American families who are able to take advantage of refundable tax credits for which they may qualify. These include the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), the Child Tax Credit (CTC), or the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC). Qualifying families can use their refunds to pay for basic needs or use the money as a catalyst to start saving in case of emergency, such as opening a savings account or buying a U.S. Savings Bond. In addition, the heightened attention paid to family finances at tax time can open the door to other services, such as credit counseling or receiving assistance with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Read the rest of this entry

National League of Cities Launches Campaign to Promote VITA Tax Help Service and Volunteer Opportunity

FamilyWashington, D.C.  – The National League of Cities (NLC) launched a marketing campaign this month with the National Community Tax Coalition (NCTC) to raise awareness of free tax prep options for low- and medium-income residents in New Jersey. Coordinated through NLC’s Institute for Youth, Education and Families, the campaign features targeted bus ads, public service announcements and online tools to promote the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program and recruit volunteers who want to help families achieve economic success. Read the rest of this entry

Unfortunate Ruling as Appeals Court Upholds Decision to Overturn IRS Paid Preparer Regs

U.S. CapitolIn a disappointing but not wholly unexpected decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit upheld the District Court’s ruling in Loving v. IRS that bars the IRS from fully implementing its paid preparer regulations. While this does not do away with requirements to obtain a PTIN for commercial tax preparers, it does continue to prevent testing and continuing education requirements from taking effect for the thousands of tax preparers who would have been regulated as Registered Tax Return Preparers. This also means it’s time to take the fight for a well-regulated tax preparation field down other avenues. Read the rest of this entry

February is Financial Aid Awareness Month!

graduation_000The month of February is dedicated to a topic near and dear to our heart, Financial Aid Awareness month. Our efforts around empowering low-income, first generation students have focused around this topic with several of our initiatives, including most recently our College Assistance Program and our Financial Aid U Training Institute. Read the rest of this entry

Standing Room Only at EITC Awareness Congressional Briefing

BriefingNCTC, in partnership with 15 other national organizations, held an educational briefing for a full room of bi-partisan congressional staff on January 30th to celebrate National EITC Awareness Day.

Tracy Fischman, NCTC board member and AccountAbility Minnesota Executive Director, moderated the panel and emphasized the EITC’s success fighting poverty, which is important to reflect on considering this is the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty. She also described how Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) programs provide quality tax preparation services, helping those who qualify for the credit claim it. Read the rest of this entry

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