RD700 - Report on the Virginia Community Action Partnership Earned Income Tax Credit Initiative Virginia CASH Campaign – December 1, 2021

Executive Summary:

*This document was replaced in its entirety by the Virginia Community Action Partnership on December 28, 2021.

Because of their experience with the extraordinary tax filing season of 2020 due to COIVD complications, the coalitions making up the Virginia CASH Campaign were well positioned to continue their modified and virtual tax preparation work into this filing season. Managing multiple service delivery models became the norm with program managers and site coordinators discovering new ways to engage new and existing volunteers, communicate with sometimes reluctant clients and continue to provide service during the ongoing public health emergency. Twenty-one coalitions working with community volunteers received funding from the Earned Income Tax Credit grant. VACAP supports this program with its own funds and receives none of the appropriation for administering the grant program.

The Virginia CASH Campaign highlights from January-July 2021:

• $24.5 million in federal refunds
o Over 18,000 federal returns filed

• $5.5 million in EITC refunds
o Over 3,700 taxpayers claiming EITC
o Over $4.3 million saved in tax preparation fees

• $3.2 million in state refunds
o Over 15,500 state returns filed

• Over 600 Volunteers
o Over 20,000 hours of tax preparation time

The modest state-funded $185,725 EITC Grant program (average grant $8,800) resulted in over 600 volunteers working with 23 coalitions (two coalitions did not apply for funding) to provide free tax preparation and financial education services at over 77 sites throughout Virginia. More coalitions are offering Facilitated Self-Assistance which allows clients to file their own taxes where help is available if needed. Independent Sector estimates the 2021 value of volunteer time nationally at $28.54 per hour. In Virginia, the value is $29.14/hour (a 2.4% increase over last year). The Virginia CASH Campaign volunteers contributed over 20,000 hours of tax preparation to the program. Staff hours for the VITA program exceeded 21,000 hours. Additional hours were contributed for tax training and financial education. This equates to more than $1.1 million in value to the program and communities where staff and volunteers live and work.

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.