Awareness-Education Disconnect: Remi – Infrequent Filer Difficulties
Your bank has teamed up with the local Housing Authority to offer monthly financial education Your bank has teamed up with the local Housing Authority to offer monthly financial education workshops to residents of government subsidized housing in your city. This month’s workshop on emergency savings included a recommendation to use the Advance Child Tax Credit (CTC) payments as a way for families to jump-start their savings. After the workshop, a participant named Remi comes up to you (bank representative) and your co-facilitator (housing authority representative) with a personal story and a question regarding understanding how to properly access the CTC. Remi: “I have filed taxes off and on since 2013, depending on my income from ‘gig work’. In the years that I did not make enough, I did not file. These last two years have been especially rough – I have made less than filing threshold and therefore did not file taxes. My cousin, who normally does my taxes in the years that I do file, says that I can claim the CTC for my two children. I need help. Since I just moved to my new place that does not have WiFi, I normally use my phone’s data plan for Internet. But the IRS site is not mobile-friendly. The IRS site can be really tricky and I have heard that if the address on your ID does not match your mailing address, you could end up being audited and owing the money back.”
CTC enables your bank and CBO partner to offer “wrap-around” financial support to those that may be eligible, but are facing significant challenges to enrolling into the benefit.
Filing taxes can be intimidating and costly — especially for gig workers, or for people who have not filed recently.
New America: Talking to Non-Filers
New America is a non-profit think tank that is dedicated to tackling the challenges caused by technological and social change. The article offers evidence-based qualitative research of families that do not regularly file taxes
Made in collaboration with the White House and US Treasury, GetCTC is a tool to file “simplified returns” for those who are not required to file. The tool helps eligible clients claim their CTC and missing stimulus payments
Potential Next Step
When offering a client-facing workshop with a local community based organization or municipal regarding CTC, be sure to include resources that will help participants overcome various barriers that might complicate or prevent successful enrollment