Monthly Archives: December 2011

Guest Post: New Financial Education Guide for VITA Programs and Their Clients

CFEDSpend Some, Save Some: Making the Most of Your Tax Refund

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is one of the nation’s largest anti-poverty programs. The EITC reduces the tax burden on workers, supplements wages, helps low-income families build assets and reduces income inequality. Annually, the EITC helps 6.6 million Americans move out of poverty; half of these are children. In 2010, over 26 million workers received nearly $59 billion in EITC. The average credit was $2,100, but can be as much as $5,751, depending on the worker’s income, marital status and whether they have children. Read the rest of this entry

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VITA Funding: Budget Heads to White House for Final Approval

Holden Weisman serves as NCTC's Policy Analyst

The remaining federal appropriations bills for the current fiscal year have now been approved by the U.S. House and Senate and are on their way to the White House for the President’s signature. The bills, passed in an omnibus package as the Consolidated Appropriations Act, sustain VITA grant funding at $12 million for Fiscal Year 2012 despite an overall, 2.5 percent cut from the previous year’s level in the IRS budget. With the President’s final approval, this act will fund the government through the remainder of FY2012, ending September 30, 2012.

VITA Update: Budget Bills Moving, but Still Face Hurdles

Holden Weisman

Holden Weisman serves as NCTC's Policy Analyst

An early morning release of the U.S. House of Representatives’ draft Fiscal Year 2012 omnibus budget bill bears some good news for the VITA field. Funding for the VITA grant program, according to the bill, is set to be sustained at $12 million for next year’s grants. This funding level has remained consistent with language emerging from several rounds of review by Congressional appropriators in both the House and the Senate. As of now, NCTC expects this figure to remain intact should a final compromise bill be approved by both Houses.

There is some concern, however, that the House and Senate may not build consensus on a final bill prior to the expiration of the current budgetary continuing resolution (CR) tomorrow, Friday, December 16. Should this failure occur, both Houses will either have to produce a new, short-term CR or accept a federal government shutdown until a new budget is approved. Either of these scenarios could prove costly to programs beneficial to our various concerns. Read the rest of this entry

Guest Post: Have You Taken the Pledge for Quality?

Marzahl Quality Pledge

CEP President David Marzahl takes the Quality Pledge

Recognizing the need for quality tax assistance, the National Community Tax Coalition’s Quality Assurance Working Group has provided suggestions on quality practices to both the IRS and the field for several years.

Quality is essential in the preparation of any return; however, for lower income individuals dependent on receiving a timely refund, proper preparation is critical. Any delay in receipt of a refund can have a significant effect on the taxpayer’s financial condition. Read the rest of this entry

The Year Ahead: NCTC in 2012

Dan Fair

Dan Fair serves as NCTC's Manager of Communications & Member Relations

Just like you, we at NCTC are gearing up for another exciting tax season. While we’re not anticipating any last second tax law changes like last year (how annoying was that?), there is plenty to look forward to in 2012. Here’s a quick peek at what NCTC is going to be up to next year:

  • State of the Field Report – Last year, we issued our very first State of the Field Report. The report includes information on VITA statistics and performance, NCTC programs, NCTC membership, advocacy campaigns, client and program success stories. You can look forward to this year’s report in mid-January.

Read the rest of this entry

Students, Schools, Skills and Jobs

College MoneyA yawning shortage of job skills underscores the great value of college-access-and-affordability work in which NCTC and our members are heavily engaged.

There are about 3.4 million job openings nationwide, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last month – a sobering figure during this period of chronically high unemployment. Businesses report a serious lack of skilled workers as being a major problem in filling those positions, according to a variety of reports. In one study by the Marion Ewing Kauffman Foundation, 40 percent of surveyed, fast-growing companies reported trouble “finding qualified people” as their biggest obstacle to expanding – the single biggest challenge cited. Read the rest of this entry