Monthly Archives: October 2012

Boo! Spooky Statistics on Poverty in America

Kid in Witch CostumeIs there anything scarier than ghosts, zombies, and witches?

With 46.2 million impoverished Americans in 2011, the state of poverty in the U.S. is certainly frightful.

As millions of children (and many adults!) don their scariest costumes for Halloween, we know many of you are getting ready for another set of calendar dates: the upcoming tax season. Below you’ll find some “frightening” statistics on poverty in our country to remind us all of why we do what we do for low-income taxpayers – trying to take these numbers down to zero. Read the rest of this entry


New Data from CFED on the Strength of State Policies

CFED LogoCFED recently released new data on the strength of state policies that help families create financial security and opportunity. These data capture policy changes that occurred in the 2012 state legislative session, or for which data became available after fall 2011.

You can see which states were the winners and losers using the interactive map, which shows net policy gains and losses across the country, and describes the changes in each state. You can also read an analysis of recent changes for each policy. Read the rest of this entry

Advisory Panel to Help Strengthen Consumer Protections

CFPB LogoOn Sept. 27, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), in conjunction with a public town hall event, swore-in the inaugural Consumer Advisory Board (CAB) in St. Louis.  With over a decade of policy work on consumer protection, I am humbled to serve on the first CAB.

The CAB, required by the enabling Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, serves at the pleasure of the CFPB Director and includes 25 members across various sectors, including mainstream financial institutions, new-generation technologies, legal services, public policy, academia, and community financial empowerment.  The members serve staggering terms, ranging from one to three years, and can serve a maximum of two terms.   Read the rest of this entry

Survey Says: VITA Sites Making Progress

Survey Check BoxAccording to this year’s data, NCTC members’ tax preparation sites have seen an amazing 350% increase in yearly returns filed since NCTC was founded ten years ago. The community VITA field prepared 1,618,332 federal returns this last tax season, with total refunds to clients exceeding $2 billion.

This data, collected through NCTC’s annual National Program Survey, is truly inspiring and reflects the ability of our members to overcome significant challenges.

Notable findings from the survey include:

Read the rest of this entry

Hiring Seasonal Workers for Tax Season

United Way of Erie County LogoUnited Way Erie FREE Taxes utilizes a combination of paid and unpaid volunteers throughout the VITA tax filing season. All site coordinators are paid, either as employee-volunteers of a VITA host organization or as temporary, part time United Way employees, and assume the role of quality reviewer.

Research through the Annie E. Casey Foundation has suggested that using paid staff as reviewers improves the quality of VITA tax return work. Characteristics cited as contributors to improved quality were number of hours worked per week and number of years of tax experience held by quality reviewers, both generally accomplished through utilization of paid staff.   Read the rest of this entry

Talkin’ Taxes: Three Questions for Tonight’s Presidential Debate

Presidential Debate

Tonight’s debate will be held at Hofstra University in New York.

As Nonprofit Quarterly and others made note of earlier this month, poverty issues and low-income families were barely mentioned at the first presidential debate.

Tonight’s debate takes the form of a town hall meeting, and as such, questions will come directly from attendees. You can imagine the countless questions we’d like debate-goers to ask the candidates about struggling families, but we’re practical.

Here are just three simple — yet incredibly important — areas that we believe should be covered at tonight’s debate: Read the rest of this entry