The Virginia CASH Campaign (Creating Assets, Savings and Hope) was created to help low- and moderate-income workers move toward greater self-sufficiency (a) by receiving the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) that can supplement earnings and (b) through financial literacy and other asset-building activities.
The Virginia Community Action Partnership (VACAP) serves as the lead organization, along with the Virginia Department of Social Services and the IRS, for the Virginia CASH Campaign. CASH stands for Creating Assets, Savings and Hope. Support is provided, including mini-grants through funding from the Virginia General Assembly, for the creation of coalitions involving local partners and volunteers - map of 2009-2010 coalition partners - to address the following goals:
- Promoting the federally funded EITC program through education, outreach and awareness
- Providing free tax preparation to avoid the high cost of professional preparers and to avoid refund anticipation loans (RAL’s)
- Promote financial opportunities to the unbanked
Presentations are made at meetings (a) to provide data on the value of the EITC and (b) to encourage involvement of Community Action Agencies, Departments of Social Services, Head Start, faith-based groups, banks and credit unions, local governments, schools, IRS through VITA programs, HUD, and community service organizations. Businesses, employers, community leaders, and companies interested in the financial health of the community are also encouraged to take on partnership roles. A viewing of the Annie E. Casey Foundation's The Money Trap video is included at the beginning of each meeting to help generate a discussion on the financial challenges faced by communities and low-wage earners.
IRS EITC Central is made available, including IRS EITC Publications, Forms, Brochures and Other Resources.
Localized data on EITC participation levels is included with the packet through information from the Brookings Institution EITC interactive and resources. This offers ZIP code-level tax return information for states, metro areas, counties, cities, and towns for the 2014 tax year data.
Information is also provided on Financial Education Resources that can be distributed as part of the Virginia CASH Campaign or used to develop additional financial literacy initiatives. Some of these resources are included, along with others, on the Virtual CAP posting for Financial Literacy Education Resources. United Way of America has developed the Financial Stability Partnership to strengthen communities by identifying and tacking the underlying causes of the financial hardship facing today’s families. The Earned Income Tax Credit is identified as the largest and most effective federal aid program for low- to moderate-income workers and as a key Strategy to Increase Income - see Financial Stability Partnership brochure.
Virginia Individual Development Accounts
VACAP is active with broader efforts to promote family self-sufficiency including promotion of Virginia Individual Development Accounts (VIDA) and serving as lead applicant for an Assets for Independence (AFI) grant to promote homeownership. Accordingly, organizations are encouraged to combine EITC outreach activities with these and other opportunities for asset building among low- and moderate-income families. The Assets Alliance is a capacity-building resource available to help organizations expand the number of individuals and families participating in Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) and asset-building opportunities.
EITC/Free Tax Assistance - Annie E. Casey Foundation
The Money Trap (video) – Portrays real life stories of the financial difficulties that often ensnare families in rural America and gives practical advice on how to avoid them. Available in English and Spanish and includes background papers, a list of resources plus a discussion guide. Designed for use with consumers for EITC and Financial Literacy outreach or in waiting areas at tax preparation sites. Materials available to accompany Avoiding the Money Trap include a User's Guide (English) – User's Guide (Spanish) and Discussion Guide.
Assessing Quality EITC – Recommendations to maximize return accuracy and to promote confidentiality and customer service.
- Money Talks! - Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
- Family Tax Credits - National Women's Law Center
- Find Materials for Your State ... Materials in Spanish and Other Languages
Maximizing the Earned Income Tax Credit in Your Community: A Toolkit for Municipal Leaders - National League of Cities.
2015 tax season highlights taken from the Virginia Community Action Partnership's 2015 annual report include:
- $185,725 in EITC grant funds distributed to coalitions across Virginia
- Almost 32,000 federal and state tax returns filed with clients obtaining more than $41 in federal and state tax refunds
- Over $12.9 million in EITC refunds
- Average federal tax refund of $1,355 for clients with an average income of about $20,450
- Over $6.3 million saved by taxpayers not using a paid preparer with clients able to keep 100% of their refunds
- Almost 1,200 volunteers gave over 51,000 hours to the VITA program (training and volunteering as preparers and educators)
- Community outreach includes efforts to reach over 11 million taxpayers across Virginia
Carolyn Spohrer, VACAP Deputy Director