Prepare to Run a First-Rate Rural EITC Program

Ready… Set… Tax Prep!

Note: This webinar was presented in fall 2012.  Some data and figures are out of date, but the stories and outreach strategies remain relevant. For information on maximum credits and EITC qualification rules, see the IRS website.  You can also watch our 2013 webinar, A Wealthier and Healthier Tax Time.

It’s almost tax season, and communities and organizations are racing to prepare for 2012-tax-year efforts. If your community plans to operate or take part in an Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) program in early 2013, it’s time to get going!

Thankfully, you don’t have to start from scratch to develop a successful EITC campaign. Many organizations provide ready-made materials, such as flyers, training manuals for VITA site volunteers—even sample newsletter articles and Twitter posts—to help you develop and promote your tax-time efforts!

This Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Resource List, a follow-up to Ready… Set… Tax Prep!, provides descriptions and links for a number of organizations that offer EITC resources.

Webinar Videos

Watch the full Ready… Set… Tax Prep!, a RuFES ReFresher Webinar or scroll down and select a segment. You can also download slides from session 1, Essential Ingredients for Successful EITC Campaigns, which provide an overview of the EITC and CTC, a summary of updates and changes for the upcoming tax season, and resources to strengthen your program. Or, download slides from session 2, Stories From the Field: Exemplary Rural EITC Programs, which includes examples of creative rural tax prep programs. Learn more about how organizations in Kentucky and Michigan are conducting free tax prep through mobile sites, employer-based sites, and virtual sites.

Session 1, Part 1

In this webinar segment, Janet Topolsky, Director of the Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group, explains how the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) work, how these credits improve rural family economic success, and what’s being done to increase the use of these credits in rural areas.

Session 1, Part 2

In this webinar segment, Roxy Caines, Senior Project Associate at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, highlights the impact of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) on poverty rates and shares important eligibility updates for the EITC and CTC for tax year 2012.

Session 1, Part 3

In this webinar segment, Roxy Caines, Senior Project Associate at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, discusses the impact of year two of the Self-Employment Tax Initiative (SETI) and shares ideas for EITC-outreach strategies in rural communities. This segment includes a list of resources to help develop or strengthen your rural EITC campaign.

Session 2, Part 1

In this webinar segment, Janet Topolsky, Director of the Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group, recaps EITC Webinar Session I by explaining how the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) work, how these credits improve rural family economic success, and what’s being done to increase the use of these credits in rural areas.

Session 2, Part 2

In this webinar segment, Vickie Johnson, Economic Justice Programs Coordinator at the Kentucky Domestic Violence Association, describes how employer-based tax prep sites are being used to increase uptake of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) in rural Kentucky. These efforts, among others, are supported by the Kentucky Asset Success Initiative (KASI), a broad-based collaborative effort dedicated to promoting economic self-sufficiency for low-income families throughout the state.

Session 2, Part 3

In this webinar segment, Vickie Johnson, Economic Justice Programs Coordinator at the Kentucky Domestic Violence Association, describes how mobile tax prep sites are being used to increase uptake of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) in rural Kentucky. These efforts, among others, are supported by the Kentucky Asset Success Initiative (KASI), a broad-based collaborative effort dedicated to promoting economic self-sufficiency for low-income families throughout the state.

Session 2, Part 4

In this webinar segment, Ross Yednock, Director of Economic Opportunity Initiatives at the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan (CEDAM), describes the rationale for a pilot program in southwest Michigan that uses internet technology to increase the accessibility of Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) in rural communities. This approach, also known as Virtual VITA, provides tax preparation assistance to individuals without requiring a face-to-face meeting between the volunteer tax preparer and client.

Session 2, Part 5

In this webinar segment, Ross Yednock, Director of Economic Opportunity Initiatives at the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan (CEDAM), describes how Virtual Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) uses internet technology to provide free tax preparation assistance to low-income individuals. This segment summarizes IRS requirements for Virtual VITA programs and offers recommendations for how to develop a Virtual VITA program in your own community.

Session 2, Part 6

The final segment of the EITC webinar features Q&A with webinar presenters. Presenters respond to questions about how banks can support EITC outreach efforts, how to promote EITC through fun community events and organizations like HeadStart, and whether or not an individual’s tax information can be kept secure when using Virtual Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA).

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RuFES is a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group.
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