Monthly Archives: April 2013

The biggest error: Losing paid-prep regs

An estimated two-thirds of taxpayers claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) turn to commercial preparers for help filing their tax returns.

However, basic Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulation of such preparers – setting minimum training and licensing standards – was halted by a federal district court judge in January. That makes the latest report on improper EITC payments particularly frustrating. Read the rest of this entry

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The costs of being “free”

how much image blogFREE!! The first thought that comes to mind when I see the word “free” is “Ooh lalala.” I usually get a euphoric feeling especially if the good or service is something I value. As a consumer, I get to save money and it allows the opportunity to take that money and use it for something else. That’s great!

But who really pays for it to be “free”? Usually when something is marketed as “free”, it is the consumer who receives it for free. Someone still has to pay to provide that service or create the good. So that service or good may be free for the consumer, but the business still has to pay for it. Read the rest of this entry

VITA = tax simplicity = tax reform

Strengthening VITA should be among the first orders of business for any federal tax reforms prioritizing “simplicity,” according to comments NCTC submitted to Congress on Tax Day.

The working families who would benefit from improvements in Volunteer Income Tax Assistance also need policymakers to bolster targeted tax credits as well as important savings policies, we added. Read the rest of this entry

A budgetary bright spot for VITA

vita_volunteer_1_0President Obama’s call for substantially bolstering VITA reflects important recognition of the program’s great value to struggling taxpayers – and the VITA field’s strong advocacy efforts. And while chances of its enactment as-is are practically nil, it nonetheless challenges us to strengthen our advocacy work.

The federal matching grant for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance would grow to $18 million in Fiscal Year 2014, under the budget proposal the President unveiled Wednesday. That’s up from its $12 million level of recent years. Read the rest of this entry

Going to court for consumers

scalesRetaining basic, common-sense regulations of commercial tax preparers is critical to protecting consumers from fraud, abuse, and incompetence, we’ve reiterated in court papers filed last week.

NCTC joined the National Consumer Law Center in filing an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief on April 5 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Our move comes in support of the IRS attempts to reinstate paid-preparer rules recently struck-down by a lower court decision. Read the rest of this entry

Guest Blog: Can we save the savings bond?

Savings BondsTax season is almost over and finally all of the pressure to “buy, buy, buy” with our refund will subside. But, thousands of taxpayers chose a different path this year – they chose to take a portion of their refund and save into U.S. Savings Bonds. In fact, since 2010, over 100,000 people have benefited from tax time savings bonds totaling more than $40 million. At D2D, we have been trying to increase the financial security of Americans for over a decade and very few innovations have been more successful or promising than tax-time savings. Read the rest of this entry