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Stakeholder Partnerships, Education and Communication (SPEC) Partnering to Build Real Economic Impact for Americans with Disabilities CFED September 11, 2008

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Stakeholder Partnerships, Education and Communication (SPEC)

Partnering to Build

Real Economic Impactfor Americans with Disabilities

CFED

September 11, 2008


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“To assist taxpayers in satisfying their tax responsibilities by building and maintaining partnerships with key stakeholders, seeking to create and share value by informing, educating, and communicating with our shared customers.”

SPEC Mission Statement


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What is SPEC?

  • Outreach and Education function of IRS Wage & Investment Division

  • Individual Income Taxes

  • Administer the VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) and TCE (Tax Counseling for the Elderly) programs


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SPEC Key Customers

  • Low to Moderate Income (<$40,000)

  • Older Americans (>60 years of age)

  • Limited English Proficient (LEP)

  • Native Americans

  • People with Disabilities


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Community Based Partnership

Awareness and Education

Tax Preparation

Awareness and Education

Community- Based Partnership

AssetBuilding


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Media

Employers

Non-profits

Social Service Agencies

Awareness and Education

Outreach and Education


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Outreach Accomplishments(People with Disabilities)

Included fliers; posters; media events; radio/TV promotions; press releases; Mayors proclamations special event days; tax blitzes; and newsletters.

2006 - 342,554 outreach in 30 cities

2007 - 1,001,042 outreach in 54 cities

2008 - 2,016,165 outreach in 62 cities


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What is the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)?

The largest federal aid program benefiting working individuals and families:

  • EITC is approximately equal to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Food Stamp Programs combined (in total dollars)

  • Ten times the size of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program

  • $43 billion paid out in 2007 to over 22 million Individuals and Families


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EITC Statistics

EITC is the most effective anti-poverty tool

for working individuals and families:

  • Lifts over 5 million individuals out of poverty each year, including 2.6 million children

  • Unfortunately, studies (Brookings, GAO) show that up to 25% do not claim the EITC leaving Billions of dollars unclaimed each year


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EITC for 2007

The maximum amount of EITC is:

  • $4,716 if you have more than one qualifying child

  • $2,853 if you have one qualifying child

  • $428 if you do not have a qualifying child


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Impact of EITC on Benefits

Not considered employment income

Generally EITC not counted as resources during the month received & the following month

Not included as income for determining eligibility for other federal public benefits


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Tax Preparation

Free Tax Preparation

Volunteer Tax Prep Sites

Electronic Filing

Earned Income Tax Credit

Child Tax Credit

Free Tax Preparation

Volunteer Income Tax Sites


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Free Tax Preparation

  • Total Volunteer Prepared Returns - 3,247,298

  • Refunds exceeding $3Billion

  • 2,877,863 Electronically Filed (88.6%)

  • All Volunteers are IRS Certified

  • 100% of Volunteer prepared returns are reviewed

  • Free Tax Preparation saved approx. $650 Million in Tax Fees & Refund Anticipation Loans


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Free Tax Preparation(People With Disabilities)

Local Returns Refunds

YearCitiesPartnersPreparedReceived

200511 ---- 7,600 $6,840,000

200630 200 17,223 $15,300,000

200754 355 36,275 $32,647,000

2008 62 555 90,653 >$81,000,000


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Why Are Free Tax Preparation Services Important?

  • Complexity of tax law

  • Tax preparation fees erode the value of refunds

  • Must file if they have earned income to receive refunds of credits and/or withholding

  • Opportunity to link to asset building strategies


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Asset Building

Individual Development Accts

Home Ownership Program

Savings/Checking Account

Financial Literacy Training

Financial Institutions

AssetBuilding


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Disabilities and Poverty

33% Of adults with disabilities live in households with total income of <$15,000 compared to only 12% of those without disabilities

54% of people with disabilities have no savings accounts and 69% do not have a checking account

58% of people with disabilities are asset poor (do not have enough resources to live at the federal poverty level for 3 months)

Sources: 2004 N.O.D/Harris Poll & 2000 U.S. Population Census


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Current Asset Building Strategies

Financial Education

Free Checking/Savings Accounts

Free Tax Filing Assistance

Debt and Credit Counseling

Individual Development Accounts (IDAs)

Home Ownership Programs

Money Smart Program-FDIC


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IRS Hiring Initiative

  • IRS Commissioner took proactive approach to hiring people with disabilities

  • Goals – Fiscal Year 2008 and 2009:

    • 69 was goal in W&I, 195 hired as of June 30

    • 71 is the goal for 2009…

    • IRS – 2% of workforce will be a person with disabilities


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What Can You do to Help?

  • Join Existing Coalition Efforts

  • Become Part of The Disability Workgroup

  • Take a Leadership Role

  • Educate Clients

  • Educate Employees

  • Become a Free Tax Preparation Site

  • Sponsor an IDA account program that offers matching funds.


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Resources

  • www.reitour.org (Real Economic Impact Tour)

  • www.ndi-inc.org (NDI website)

  • www.irs.gov (Keyword “disabilities” - IRS Partner page for those that work with people with disabilities)

  • www.irs-eitc.info/SPEC (SPEC Toolkit for EITC)

  • www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/moneysmart(FDIC Money Smart)

  • www.cbpp.org/eic2008 (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities site and Access to EITC Toolkit)


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Richard Keeling – Senior Tax Analyst

Internal Revenue Service

401 West Peachtree Street NW

STOP-WI-50

Atlanta, GA 30308

404-338-8814

Richard.Keeling@irs.gov

www.irs.gov(Keyword “Community Network”)

Contact Information


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