ROAD TO OPPORTUNITY:  FINDING THE WAY FORWARD THROUGH COVID-19 AND BEYOND
Special Edition: Support Free Tax Preparation at VITA sites
July 1, 2020
DID YOU KNOW: Free Tax Prep Helps Stabilize Lives
  • The effects of the pandemic continue to compound the needs of the people we serve as well as many families seeking help for the first time.
  • The programs we run and services we provide are even more important now to help stabilize lives.
  • Across the Commonwealth, VITA sites not only provide free tax prep (including virtual VITA), but also provide access to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC) as well as other tax credits.
  • The EITC and the Child Tax Credit CTC have kept 150,000 people out of poverty in MA by helping them to bridge the wage gap.
  • 44% of Americans cannot cover a $400 unexpected expense
For more MA Facts, visit  www.masscap.org/communityactionworks.
 
For more information and to access all of the data, read our updated report "Obstacles on the Road to Opportunity: Finding a Way Forward for the Children and Families of Massachusetts"  (updated January 2020)
PUBLIC POLICY MATTERS
The state funding for policy and programs are crucial in finding the way forward in Massachusetts, especially now when so many are being negatively impacted by COVID-19.  Part of our response must include supporting public policies that will help our vulnerable friends and neighbors living with low incomes to weather this very trying period. 

Please join us in supporting Amendment #60 to the FY20 Supplemental Budget (S.2789) by Senator Jo Comerford to support free tax preparation for low-income taxpayers through Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites at Community Action Agencies and other organizations across Massachusetts ($800K).

Amendment 60 will allow VITA Sites to:
  • Provide free tax preparation to more low-income taxpayers helping them  access the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and other tax credits.
  • Bring additional federal resources to MA when they are greatly needed.   While the federal resources from the EITC and other tax credits that flow to MA are not a direct reimbursement, they are critical to economic recovery for low-income communities across the state.
  • Help taxpayers who have not filed taxes (non-filers) provide their information to the IRS so that they can receive CARES act stimulus payments.
  • Continue to offer financial education and link low-income tax payers to other critical services, strengthening families and the local economy. 
  • Operate effectively while keeping taxpayers, staff and volunteers safe.
Did you know that the return on investment for VITA sites can be up to 60:1?

Did you know that the multiplier has been assessed by the researchers at the Boston Medical center as $1.44 for every $1 that comes back to the state?

MAKING A DIFFERENCE: VITA Sites Continue to Help Taxpayers through Operational Changes due to COVID
VITA sites have adapted and extended their operations to make free tax preparation safe for all and to work through this year's July 15 tax deadline.  They are continuing to serve as many as possible daily.

One daycare provider, currently shut down and burdened with medical debt, was able to file her taxes for the current year and preceding two years and receive a +$3,600 refund, thanks to Making Opportunity Count (MOC) VITA site.
 
One Lawrence taxpayer was able to file his tax returns for both this year and last quickly allowing him to be eligible for his stimulus funds in a timely fashion, thanks to Greater Lawrence Community Action Council (GLCAC) VITA site.
 
One homeless college graduate whose UMass tuition was paid in full by DCF as she was an orphan in foster care was able to receive tax refunds for both this year and last thanks to Community Teamwork (CTI) VITA Site volunteer preparer's knowledge of education credits and exceptions on when you have to claim a portion of the scholarship money as income.  CTI is also working with her in their youth homelessness prevention program.
CONTINUING THE CONVERSATION 
Free Tax Prep is available at Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites. Federal and MA tax deadlines extended through July 15, 2020. Find your Community Action VITA site at masscap.org/freetaxprep  and call now.

We urge you to support the FY21 priorities so that together we can move forward on the road to opportunity. Visit our Public Policy Priorities webpage.

Get Everyone Counted: Census 2020!  Federal funding is at stake! Health care, education, and emergency planning all depend on getting an accurate census count.
COMMUNITY ACTION IN MA

Our Mission
To strengthen and connect the statewide network of Community Action Agencies and collectively advocate for an end to poverty.

Our Vision
All MA residents will be able to meet their basic needs, access economic opportunities, build strong communities and move toward prosperity...

Find your Agency
There are 23 Community Action Agencies in Massachusetts serving virtually every city and town in the state.   To locate the agency in your area and learn more about the programs they offer,  click here .

NOTE:
Community Action Agencies are observing the advice and directives of the Governor.  Dedicated CAA staff are working remotely, stand ready to help, and continue to support people in need with services such as fuel assistance and food pantries.  Please check your local CAA's website or call for information about how to access services.


#EndPovertyMA #CommunityActionWorks