RD515 - Report on the Virginia Community Action Partnership Earned Income Tax Credit Initiative Virginia CASH Campaign – December 1, 2017

Executive Summary:

The Virginia CASH Campaign continued to offer quality free tax preparation services across the Commonwealth of Virginia to over 33,000 taxpayers from January-April 2017. This year 22 coalitions working with community volunteers received funding from the Earned Income Tax Credit grant. VACAP distributes 100% of the funding to the coalitions. The Virginia CASH Campaign highlights include:

• Over $34 million in federal refunds
o Over 33,000 federal returns filed

• Over $14 million in EITC refunds
o Over 8,200 taxpayers claiming EITC
o $6.6 million saved in tax preparation fees

• Over $5 million in state refunds
o Over 26,000 state returns filed

• Over 1,300 Volunteers
o Over 51,000 hours of tax preparation time

Compared to 2015 tax year, this represents:

• 8 % increase in the amount of EITC refunds

• 5% increase in the number of volunteers

• 18% increase in the number of volunteer hours

The modest state-funded $185,725 EITC Grant program (average grant $8,400) resulted in over 1,300 volunteers working with 23 coalitions to provide free tax preparation and financial education services at 118 sites throughout Virginia. Many coalitions continue to partner with Affordable Health Care Navigators to assist consumers with making smart health insurance choices and correct filing of income tax returns. Coalitions are offering Facilitated SelfAssistance which allows clients to file their own taxes where help is available if needed. The Independent Sector estimates the 2016 value of volunteer time in Virginia to be $26.96 per hour. The Virginia CASH Campaign volunteers contributed over 51,000 hours of tax preparation to the program. An additional 12,000 hours were contributed for tax training. This equates to almost $1.7 million value to the program and communities where these volunteers live and work. Grant funds leverage over six times the amount in volunteer time.

The Virginia Community Action Partnership (VACAP) EITC Initiative supports community groups and coalitions throughout Virginia that provide free tax preparation services and promote financial stability, savings and asset building to modest income working individuals and families. The Virginia CASH Campaign (Creating Assets, Savings and Hope) gives the program an identity that is used by the coalitions to engage community partners in their work.