Many times, when I introduce someone to United Way, I must answer the question “so what does United Way actually do?”
Simply put, United Way fights for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in every community. But that only answers the “what”; the “how” is by making sure we’re in the right place at the right time.
Take tax season, for instance. Every year over 380 United Ways fund, operate, or support Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites so that those generally making $54,000 or less can utilize free, accurate tax preparation services offered by IRS-certified volunteers. Through VITA, millions of hard-working Americans access critical anti-poverty tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC).
As a network, we’re able to leverage perfect timing (like tax season), and placement (like VITA sites) for true impact: access to pro-work credits that allow hardworking families to keep more of what they earn for things like reliable transportation, childcare, or groceries.
Now, with Congress in the midst of negotiating comprehensive tax reform—we find ourselves once again perfectly positioned to make a difference. While the nation patiently awaits the release of a congressional tax reform proposal, 90 United Way leaders are on Capitol Hill today asking Congress to build on what works in the tax code by protecting and strengthening the EITC, CTC, charitable deduction, and VITA in reform. We’re calling on lawmakers to:
Increase the size of the EITC for workers not raising children at home and lowering the age of eligibility to 21. Congress should also protect the EITC and CTC in tax reform conversations to ensure these tools continue to effectively reward work and build strong families and communities.
Protect the full value and scope of the charitable deduction and expand incentives to give by making the charitable deduction available to all taxpayers, including those who take the standard deduction.
Formally authorize the Community VITA Grant Program, and shore up investments in the program to $30 million.
We’re doing what we can do be where we need to be and when, but we could use your help. Will you fight for working Americans with us?
Take action to strengthen the EITC here.
Take action to preserve the charitable deduction here.