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Action Campaigns

Community Tax Centers/VITA

This campaign is focused on five major activities to expand and support VITA services in Texas: 1) increase awareness of VITA especially with State agencies, 2) continue communication between VITA sites and RAISE Texas staff, 3) promote other financial products while waiting for tax appointments, 4) put together a pitch for VITA as economic development, and 5) educate Child Support Customers on tax refunds and VITA services. Below is a list of the group’s current activities:

  1. Currently there are over 250 VITA sites in over 60 of the 254 counties in Texas. This working groups continues to work to expand VITA services into all counties in Texas.  Find a VITA Site in your area!
  2. RAISE Texas partnered with OpportunityTexas in 2011, 2012 and plans exist for 2013 to provide grants around savings at tax time. Specifically these grants were used to expand financial education, increase household income, and create new Texas Savers.

    Catholic Charities Diocese of Ft Worth, Inc. established two new VITA sites in a rural county through a mobile VITA site that provided services during tax season.

    Foundation Communities and United Ways of Texas (and its local United Way partners) helped clients build a savings by incentivizing VITA site filers to save a portion of their tax refund by purchasing U.S. Savings Bonds.
  3. Educate Child Support Customers on Tax Refunds and VITA Services RAISE Texas and its partners believe that increasing the number of child support customers using VITA services can help facilitate increased tax refunds and longer-term financial stability – through the integration of savings and other asset-building services offered at VITA sites across Texas. To help practitioners educate child support customers around tax time savings and refunds, RAISE Texas is working with the Office of the Attorney General-Child Support Division and experts in community organizations across Texas to create a“toolkit” (see below under Resources).

Bills Introduced During the 83rd Legislative Session:

HB 196 Rep. Farias
Relating to a study on the number of taxpayers claiming the federal earned income tax credit.

HB 271 Rep. Farias
Relating to requiring the comptroller to assess ways to expand the provision of information about the federal earned income tax credit.

 

Resources:

Presentation from September 30th webinar "Growing Free Tax Preparation Services in Texas Through Online Platforms- Now Available to Your Organization" 

Money Matters (English), Citi Community Development

Money Matters (Spanish), Citi Community Development 

How to Start a VITA Site in your Community: Bringing More Dollars into the Local Economy While Supporting Families, 2010 VITA toolkit.

OpportunityTexas' Tax-Time Savings Project Guide

Breakout Session Notes

Child Support and Income Tax Returns

Manutencion de Ninos y Reembolsos de Impuestos

Raising Grandchildren May Impact Your Federal Taxes

Tax Information for Non-Custodial Parents

Child Support and Tax Services Outreach Flyer

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