Survey Says: VITA Sites Making Progress
According 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:
- The average AGI of our clients is $19,700 and their average refund is $1,357
- 4,220 tax clients opened savings bonds with their refund
- 88% of VITA programs have moved to TaxWise Online to prepare tax returns, with 50% still making some use of TaxWise Desktop (TaxWise Online suffered a meltdown early in the tax season, but its reporting was greatly improved this year)
- Effective advertising techniques included flyers for schools and ESL programs, and contacting local employers to reach people with disabilities
- Experiments with services offered included some volunteers certifying for Health Savings Accounts, the Self Employment Tax Initiative, and FAFSA preparation
- New volunteers were recruited from sources such as AmeriCorps NCCC teams, VISTA, and various colleges
- Quick Response (QR) codes and texting hash tags were tried with poor results
The survey also revealed that programs experimented with new models of service delivery in order to help the greatest number of people. New models included:
- Facilitated self-assistance
- Virtual VITA
- EITC screening
- Mobile sites
- ICAN! E-File
- Sites at local high schools
- Sites at a VA hospital
- A drop-off model
NCTC is proud to have seen our tax sites make so many positive advances to provide the best possible results for our clients. Thank you once again to programs that filled out the survey!
You can read the full report on our website.
By Brenna Murphy, Communications & Member Relations Intern and Don Wedd, Website/Database Manager