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									EARNED INCOME TAX CREDIT:
Building a Roadmap out of Poverty
for Taxpayers with Disabilities

A Progress Report on the
2006 - 2007 Real Economic Impact Tour (REI Tour)

HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE
       Executive Summary
       Needs of Taxpayers with Disabilities
       Characteristics of Taxpayers with Disabilities
       Goals of 2007 Tour
       Increased Disability Awareness and Outreach
       Expand Disability Capacity of Coalitions
       Increase Visibility of Disability Initiative
       Highlights of Implementation from 25 Tour Cities
       Taxpayer Advocate 2006 Report to Congress
       Next Steps




Michael Morris, J.D.            Johnette T. Hartnett, Ed.D.           Sharon Brent
Executive Director                Director of Research          Director of Training
                                National Disability Institute
                               1667 K Street, Suite 640, NW
                                  Washington, DC 20006
                                        June 2007



                                                                                  1
   The Real Economic Impact Tour (REI Tour) is a Public – Private Partnership of the:
   National Disability Institute
   Internal Revenue Service
   Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
   United States Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration
   Social Security Administration, Office of Employment Support
   Goodwill Industries International
   Easter Seals
   National Council on Independent Living
   World Institute on Disability
   Bank of America
   Darden Restaurants Foundation
   NCB Capitol Impact
   Law, Health Policy & Disability Center, University of Iowa, College of Law
   Burton Blatt Institute, Syracuse University
   The Arc of the United States

   In collaboration with*:
       Tech-Able/Credit-Able, Atlanta, GA;
       Mayor’s Commission on Disabilities, Baltimore, MD;
       Boston EITC Coalition, Boston, MA;
       Family Financial Literacy Coalition, Charlotte, NC;
       United Way of Central Ohio, Columbus, Ohio;
       Mayor’s Asset Building Coalition of Dallas, Dallas, TX;
       Genesee County Tax Assistance and Financial Services Coalition, Flint, MI
       City of Houston Affirmative Action & Contract Compliance, Houston, TX;
       Indiana County Community Action Program, Indiana PA;
       Real Sense Prosperity Campaign, Jacksonville, FL;
       Wildwood Programs, Inc (Member CASH Coalition Capital District), Albany, NY;
       Broad Spectrum Community Development Corporation, Los Angeles, CA;
       Louisville Asset Building Coalition & Louisville Metro, Louisville, KY;
       Center for Community Economic Development and Disability, Southern New Hampshire
       University and the Greater Manchester Asset Building Coalition, Manchester, NH;
       Milwaukee Asset Building Coalition, Milwaukee, WI
       AccountAbility, Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN
       FoodChange, New York City
       United Way of the Bay Area, Oakland, CA;
       City of Phoenix Human Services Department, Phoenix, AZ
       City of San Antonio, San Antonio, TX;
       United Way of Northwest Michigan Volunteer Center, Traverse City, MI
       Gallaudet University Department of Business, Washington, DC
       United Way of Palm Beach County, West Palm Beach, FL;
       Cerebral Palsy Research Foundation, Inc. and the City of Wichita, Wichita KS
       Rhode Island AARP Tax-Aide, Woonsocket, RH


* These diverse organizations represent the cities that received the REI Tour mini-grant awards for
2007.




                                                                                                      2
                                  Executive Summary
The roadmap out of poverty for millions of working Americans with disabilities is being
paved by a grassroots movement of community-based organizations nationwide called the
Real Economic Impact Tour (REI Tour). The 54 city Tour in 2007 built on the existing work
being led by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, United Way of America, the National
Community Tax Coalition and other national organizations in providing EITC outreach to an
underserved population of taxpayers with disabilities.

Through an array of new partnerships both nationally and locally the movement is building
knowledge and workgroups that are identifying issues specific to taxpayers with disabilities.
The Tour in three years has spurred the publication of national research, Congressional
reports and ad hoc committees identifying the specific challenges facing thousands of
taxpayers with disabilities.

The REI Tour is addressing the needs of a specialized market that has previously gone
unaddressed and is providing existing EITC coalitions with the added value of education
and tools to expand their outreach to taxpayers with disabilities.

Eighty percent of the results for the 2007 Tour came from 25 cities (out of 54 cities)
receiving mini-grants and technical assistance to serve taxpayers with disabilities. Tour
cities added value to two distinct groups involved in free tax preparation:

VALUE ADDED
      Taxpayers with disabilities were provided:
   1. Information about the benefits of filing a tax return if they were on or off a public
      benefit or had no legal requirement to file a return;
   2. Information that addressed the fears of losing benefits if someone filed a tax return
      and received the EITC;
   3. Information about where to find an accessible free tax filing site in their community;
   4. Free tax assistance with necessary accommodations – such as a sign language
      interpreter, large print materials, financial education in Braille, etc.
   5. Mobile or roving tax clinics that came to their disability organizations and provided
      free tax preparation at a designated time;
   6. Financial fitness fairs that provided information that was accessible and
      understandable about debt and credit counseling, savings, and banking;
   7. Basic information about public benefits and work incentives and where to go to
      receive more information and help;
   8. Opportunities to speak at public forums about their asset development needs with
      key individuals from financial institutions, local government and community-based
      organizations.
                                                                                                3
VALUE ADDED
      Free tax coalitions and community-based partners were provided:
  1. National audio conference series to provide information about making tax sites
      accessible; understanding tax credits specific to taxpayers with disabilities; disability
      etiquette; and best practices in the field;
  2. Monthly calls across 25 cities to build peer-network to share challenges, best
      practices and information about building disability workgroups;
  3. Access to a new website for building real economic impact for participating cities and
      city by city information of the Tour www.reitour.org
  4. Template for Mayor and/or Governor Proclamations to expand media and public
      awareness of free tax preparation outreach to taxpayers with disabilities;
  5. Over 20 special event visits by National Disability Institute and IRS representatives to
      celebrate disability outreach efforts;
  6. An expert advisor from the national Disability Resource Network of the Tour to
      provide assistance with disability specific issues or problems;
  7. IRS assistance in helping coalitions ask the disability question: “do you or a member
      of your family have a disability”?
  8. Education to disability provider organizations and their boards about EITC and other
      tax provisions by local IRS SPEC disability partners;
  9. Social Security benefits training and outreach in select cities for provider networks
      and parents of children with disabilities;
  10. Assistance for new disability organizations joining coalitions and becoming free tax
      preparation sites (for example Independent Living Centers, Goodwill, Easter Seals);
  11. Low-Income Tax Clinic assistance through the Taxpayer Advocate Services with
      special focus on taxpayers with disabilities.




                                                                                              4
                    Most Significant Accomplishments

1) Increased free tax returns prepared by 110% from 2006 by
   assisting 36,275 persons with disabilities in 2007.

2) Increased refunds to taxpayers with disabilities by 113%
   from 2006 with over 32.6 million dollars in refunds received
   in 2007.

3) Exceeded 1 million in asset building education and outreach
   contacts and impressions in 54 cities.

4) Engaged 355 local partners in disability workgroups - an
   increase of 78% from 2006.

5) Provided technical assistance to 1,500 service providers
   through a four-part audio conference series that focused on
   income and asset building support for persons with
   disabilities.

6) Created a resource library website, www.reitour.org, to
   expand outreach to persons with disabilities and other target
   audiences.

7) Provided mini-grants ($500 to $2,000) for 25 cities. Impact -
   over 80% of tax returns prepared came from these cities.

8) Created a peer-learning network with monthly conference
   calls for grant funded cities.

9) Conducted 20 technical assistance visits to Tour cities.

10) Developed a mayors proclamation template to focus
    attention on asset building for persons with disabilities that
    was adopted by nine cities and two governors (New York and
    New Hampshire).

                                                                   5
NEEDS OF TAXPAYERS WITH DISABILITIES

The Real Economic Impact Tour is a public-private partnership of federal, state and local
organizations that promotes self-determination and full inclusion for building healthy
economic futures for Americans with disabilities. Working Americans with disabilities need
access to the growing body of asset building strategies being promoted for taxpayers with
modest incomes, The changing of the policy landscape since the passage of the Americans
with Disabilities Act in 1990 has shifted from income maintenance as a safety net for
perceived “incapacity” to promotion of strategies to advance economic independence for
persons with disabilities. Thirty-seven percent of the 54 million Americans with disabilities
are working and were found to be noticeably absent from national programs that provide
free tax preparation assistance, financial education, and matched savings programs (IDAs).

The roadmap out of poverty for working Americans with disabilities is through access to the
“formal economy” that includes; participation in free tax preparation services; accessible and
affordable financial services and products; financial and tax education; computers and the
internet; public and private websites; and training about how to optimize work incentives,
public benefits with federal and local asset building strategies.

One in every five individuals or about 54 million Americans has a disability and one in every
seven families has at least one member with a disability. The demographic profile for
disability cuts across race, gender, age, and geography. Persons with disabilities are more
likely to be unbanked (30%) and to underutilize tax provisions because of a lack of
knowledge; lack of access or accommodation; or due to fear of losing important benefits
such as health care. They are almost three times as likely to live in poverty as any other
group.

Recent trends show that people with disabilities are living longer, living more independently
and taking on more responsibility for the management of their own budgets and resources.
People with disabilities want information on how to save; where to save; how to plan for the
future; how to manage debt and credit; how to buy a home; how to optimize available tax
credits; how to use federal work incentives; where to bank; and, where to get free tax-
preparation assistance. For many, these asset building goals are not attainable without
outreach and education.

Historically, free tax assistance programs such as the IRS Tax Counseling for the Elderly
Program (TCE), Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Programs (VITA) and the Taxpayer
Advocate Low-Income Taxpayer Clinics Program (LITC) have focused on seniors, the poor
and people who use English as a Second Language. People with disabilities were not
targeted as a group particularly those on public benefits or transitioning into the workplace
filing returns. Today, the IRS VITA program is the lead partner in the disability initiative with
LITCs joining the campaign in 2007.

Various asset building bills before Congress (529 Accounts, Aspire, Saver’s Credit, etc.)
were not “universally designed” or “scored” for individuals who have lifelong costs due to
disability. For example, the Asset for Independence Act (AFI) that allows eligible individuals
to save and receive federally matched dollars allows savings to be used for homeownership,
                                                                                               6
post-secondary education or small-business start-up. The AFI rules did not consider other
“purposes” for people with disabilities even though research found that over 40% of the
remaining welfare Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients were people
with disabilities. For example, an individual transitioning from high school to work with a
significant lifelong disability needs assistive technology or a computer.

CHARACTERISTICS OF TAXPAYERS WITH DISABILITIES
   Over one million working Americans with disabilities eligible for various tax credits are
    not receiving them.1

          53% of workers with disabilities filing a tax return fall in the 46 – 50 age group
           compared to 32% of the taxpayers without a disabilities.

          41% percent of taxpayers with disabilities report not using a computer at home
           versus 24% of non-disability taxpayers.

          Taxpayers with disabilities reported less income on their tax returns than taxpayers
           without a disability ($19,100 versus $33,800).2

          Taxpayers with disabilities received less Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
           but were more likely to claim the EITC (median EITC of $800 versus $1,800) than
           taxpayers without disabilities. (32% claimed EITC versus 15% without a disability). 3

          68% of people with disabilities report that lack of money is a serious problem among
           people and 39% say that the lack of financial resources is the most serious problem
           they face.4

          Research studies need to be designed to survey blind workers with disabilities.
           Research has not been collected from this group of taxpayers.

          The less educated a taxpayer with a disability is (no high school diploma) the more
           likely not to file a tax return (48%) compared to a taxpayer with a disability with a high
           school diploma (66%).

          Taxpayers with disabilities are less likely to be college educated than taxpayers
           without disabilities (28% versus 52%).

          Less than 10% of people with intellectual disabilities own their own homes compared
           with 52% of Americans with disabilities (other than Intellectual) or 70% of Americans
           with no disabilities.

          83% of persons with disabilities never claimed available tax credits and/or deductions
           related to work mainly because most do not itemize their deductions.


1
  Benchmark Report (2007). IRS Wage & Investment Research Report to be released Summer 2007.
2
  Benchmark Report (2007). IRS Wage & Investment Research Report to be released Summer 2007. p.iv.
3
  Benchmark Report (2007). IRS Wage & Investment Research Report to be released Summer 2007.
4
    (N.O.D./Harris Survey 2000)
                                                                                                     7
REI TOUR GOALS FOR 2007

Through the Real Economic Impact Tour and its goal to build healthy financial futures for
people with disabilities, the National Disability Institute (NDI) and the Internal Revenue
Service (IRS) partnered with Bank of America in 2007. The goal of this partnership was to
increase the economic well-being of low-income taxpayers with disabilities by strengthening
and expanding the capacity of grassroots community-based EITC coalitions to increase
access to favorable tax credits, financial education and other asset building opportunities for
taxpayers with disabilities.

The 2007 Tour was anchored by Bank of America’s commitment to expand the economic
self-sufficiency of working individuals and families to include taxpayers with disabilities.
Thanks to Bank of America’s funding, the National Disability Institute provided 25 of the 54
cities with mini-grants and ongoing support, training, and technical assistance from NDI’s
Disability Resource Network of experts across the country. The accomplishments described
in this Report were a result of combining the expertise of NDI and IRS in building
community-based volunteer partnerships for taxpayers with disabilities with Bank of
America’s reputation as a leader in corporate philanthropy, financial education and
community economic development.

Three strategies for achieving the overall Tour mission of increasing access to free tax
preparation and other asset-building opportunities for individuals with disabilities were
provided to the 25 grantees (funded with Bank of America’s support) for their participation in
the 2007 REI Tour tax season. They are:

STRATEGY 1: Increase awareness, understanding about free tax preparation and the
number of participants with disabilities through local and national media outreach
and education strategies; Increase understanding of what it means to make a free tax
site accessible; how to accommodate people with various abilities; and basic
information about disability etiquette;

STRATEGY 2: Develop, expand and strengthen the capacity of disability workgroups
within coalitions and specify roles and responsibilities; and

STRATEGY 3: Increase the visibility of the importance of the Tour (asset building and
tax filing) through planned special events and activities through grassroots partners
at the local, state and national level.

The Real Economic Impact Tour is dedicated to improving the financial futures of low-
income people with disabilities. The Tour is being conducted using the IRS SPEC
community-based model that has helped build over 300 volunteer income tax assistance
coalitions in the country that nationwide have prepared over 2 million returns. The Tour is
delivered through existing EITC and VITA coalitions in 54 cities that are partners with NDI
and IRS/SPEC and have volunteered to develop a disability workgroup and identify new
partner disability organizations to host free tax preparation sites and eventually become tax
preparers and volunteers as well.


                                                                                                8
Cities were chosen because of the availability of partner support from the local IRS SPEC
offices, interest from existing free tax coalitions, and NDI’s relationships with on-the-ground
disability organizations including state level programs and services. Bank of America
grantee cities were chosen because they responded to a NDI Request for Proposals
disseminated in December 2006. Grantees received their mini-grants by February 1, 2007.

The REI Tour is targeted at EITC eligible populations, (workers from age 25-60) earning
under $40,000 (2007 filing season maximum threshold for EITC eligibility). If the taxpayer
has a qualifying child there are no age restrictions on the taxpayer. Only taxpayers without
a qualifying child have the “at least 25 and under 65” age restriction.

INCREASED DISABILITY AWARENESS AND OUTREACH

STRATEGY 1
Increase the participation, awareness, and understanding about free tax preparation
and asset building strategies for people with disabilities through local and national
media outreach and educational strategies.

    25 of the 54 Tour cities receiving Bank of America mini-grants served 29,391
    taxpayers with disabilities and prepared returns with over $26.4 million in total
    refunds (Attachment A)

    54 of the Tour cities served a total of 36,275 taxpayers with disabilities a 110 %
    increase from 2006 (Attachment B)
       Assisted 7,600 persons with disabilities in 2005 (11 cities);
       Assisted 17,223 persons with disabilities in 2006 (30 cities);
       Assisted 36,275 persons with disabilities in 2007 (54 cities).

    Refunds to taxpayers with disabilities increased by 113% from 2006:
       $ 6,840,000 in refunds in 2005
       $15,300,000 in refunds in 2006
       $32,647,000 in refunds in 2007

    Increase in the percentages of people with disabilities participating in the Tour
    activities:
       In 2005 cities reported 5 to 10% of EITC taxpayers with disabilities5;
       In 2006 cities reported 10 to 15%;
       In 2007 cities reported a range of 10% in Phoenix, to 38.7% in Wichita, KS.

    Over 1 million outreach contacts made to educate community organizations,
    individuals and families and businesses about the Tour. Included fliers; posters;
    media events; radio/TV promotions; press releases; Mayors’ proclamations’ special
    event days; tax blitzes; and newsletters.
       In 2006 342,554 impressions made 30 cities
       In 2007 1,001,042 impressions made 54 cities


5
 Many REI Tour cities opted to ask taxpayers participating in the free tax preparation services the question: Do you
consider yourself or a family member to have a disability? This is self-reported data.
                                                                                                                       9
   RELEASE OF FDIC Money Smart Program IN BRAILLE – 10 Module Program on
   Financial Literacy including money management and credit that comes in seven
   languages was made available for the first time in Braille with a disability supplement in
   2007. www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/moneysmart/index.html

EXPAND DISAIBLITY CAPACITY OF COALITIONS

STRATEGY 2: Develop, expand and strengthen the capacity of disability workgroups
within coalitions and specify roles and responsibilities;
   78% increase in the number of community partners (355) involved in the Tour
   since 2006.
   New partnerships are creating new models among national and local disability and non-
   disability organizations to disseminate Tour information through Goodwill Industries,
   Easter Seals, State Vocational Rehabilitation Offices, Independent Living Centers,
   United Way, City Government, Mayor’s Offices, Governors’ Council on Developmental
   Disabilities; City Housing Departments, City Offices of Community Economic
   Development, Bank of America and Community Development Credit Unions.
               200 partners in 2006
               355 partners in 2007

   1500 Participants Involved in Four-Part Audio Conference Series:
   The REI Tour Series was hosted by IRS with NDI facilitating the calls. The Series
   provided education about the field of asset building for people with disabilities; issues of
   access and accommodation and disability etiquette; social security income and work
   incentives; tax provisions and credits for people on and off public benefits; and a best
   practice session highlighting six cities and their unique models for serving people with
   disabilities.

   Created peer learning network of grantee cities through monthly one hour calls from
   January – May 2007. Ninety-percent of grantee cities participated in every call. Cities
   shared their successes, challenges and provided resources to one another to assist in
   their outreach to individuals with disabilities.

   Created New REI Tour Website www.reitour.org to provide streamlined, branded
   access to resources for participating Tour cities, community partners and individuals with
   disabilities.

   Leveraged the Disability Program Navigator initiative in 45+ States with over 400
   Disability Program Navigators (DPNs), sponsored by the Department of Labor,
   Employment and Training Administration. The DPNs assist individuals with disabilities in
   accessing employment through services offered by One-Stop Career Centers. The
   DPNs in many cities are assisting community partners in the REI Tour in navigating the
   disability service system in their area. In addition they are helping the Tour organize the
   disability community. www.doleta.gov/disability/eta_default.cfm.

   IRS creates first ever public web Partner page for disability initiative
   with NDI technical assistance for people who work with or serve people with disabilities.
   www.irs.gov (keyword – “disabilities”).

                                                                                             10
   Taxpayer Advocate joins REI Tour in 2007 with over 150 Low-Income Tax Clinics
   (LITC) mainly in academic institutions or non-profits located throughout the country,
   District of Columbia and Puerto Rico joined the REI Tour in 2007. LITC represent low-
   income taxpayers before the IRS; assist taxpayers in audits, appeals and collection
   disputes; help taxpayers respond to IRS notices; and to correct account problems.
   www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p1546

   Disability Initiative, REI Tour, Part of National Strategy for Financial Literacy
   Report April 2006: U.S. Treasury
   Financial Literacy and Education Commission highlighted the tax initiative for people with
   disabilities to Congress. http://www.mymoney.gov/pdfs/ownership.pdf

   Conducted 20 Technical Assistance “Tour” stops to celebrate Mayors’ Disability
   Proclamations declaring commitment to disability asset building work; build disability
   workgroups; provide benefits training and outreach; and recognize Tour supporters such
   as Bank of America, Darden Industries, Ford Foundation, National Cooperative Bank,
   National Disability Institute, Law, Health Policy and Disability Center, University of Iowa
   College of Law; and the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University. Proclamation
   templates supporting the Tour and asset building work were provided from NDI and were
   read by Mayors in: Jacksonville, FL; Oakland, CA; Manchester, NH; San Antonio, TX;
   Houston, TX; Dallas, TX; Wichita, KS; Boston, MA; and Baltimore, MD. Governors
   issued Proclamations in New York and New Hampshire.


INCREASED VISIIBLITY OF DISABILITY INITIATIVE


STRATEGY 3: Increase the visibility of the importance of the Tour (asset building and
tax filing) through planned special events and activities through grassroots partners
at the local, state and national level.
    Cities leveraging involvement in Tour to raise new resources to expand work for
    individuals with disabilities (Albany Wildwood received grant from United Way to grow
    work; Atlanta, GA, Credit-Able received grant from State DD Council to produce
    statewide asset summit; Baltimore, CASH Campaign applying for federal grant to
    expand resources for serving more taxpayers with disabilities.

   Approaches to Disability Outreach and Community Partnership
   Creating New Models

   EXAMPLES OF CITY GOVERNMENT OUTREACH:
   Milwaukee, Wisconsin: An emerging city disability model with a focus on housing for
   people with disabilities (includes veterans) through participation in a number of city-wide
   asset building partnerships and strategies such as free tax filing, home buying
   counseling and identification of contractors that will build accessible housing.

   San Antonio, Texas:
   A disability model began over three years ago led by the City of San Antonio coalition for
   Family Economic Progress with key disability organizations (SAILS and Goodwill
   Industries) as active members of the larger free tax coalition with on-location free VITA
                                                                                             11
tax preparation services. Expanded outreach to persons with visual disabilities with VITA
mobile team providing free tax services to the Lighthouse workforce on site.

EXAMPLES OF REGIONAL OUTREACH
Oakland, California: An emerging regional disability model (seven counties) led by the
United Way of the Bay Area expanded access to the Earned Income Tax Credit and
other asset building or income support tools to taxpayers with disabilities through
collaboration and media events with the Mayor’s Office and California’s First Lady Maria
Shriver’s attendance at a community organization resource fair with disability exhibits.
Bank of America acknowledged for their support at the EITC kick-off.

Atlanta, GA: An emerging disability model led by an alternative financing non-profit
organization that provides low interest assistive technology loans. Credit Able is part of
the larger Atlanta EITC coalition and is a free tax filing site. Credit Able is represented on
the Atlanta EITC steering committee and is interested in expanding its services to
include financial literacy and other asset building strategies. Credit Able is leveraging its
work to invite new partners with resources to continue its asset building work for people
with disabilities. Bank of America provided Credit-Able with information and assistance in
inviting new customers to open an account.

EXAMPLE OF STATEWIDE OUTREACH:
Phoenix, Arizona: The emerging statewide disability model led with strong support from
the City of Phoenix expanded outreach to the yearly Community Rehabilitation Program
(sponsored by the University of Arizona and San Diego State University); the Inter-Tribal
Council of Arizona; Arizona Saves, and Legislative Awareness Day for People with
Disabilities held on the lawn of the State Capitol. Bank of America is part of this
important work and was mentioned at most events.

Mobile “roving tax” clinics successful in reaching taxpayers with disabilities in
urban and rural settings.
Use of mobile clinics increased services to designated disability organizations to provide
free tax filing assistance. Success with strategy reported in New York City, Wichita, New
Hampshire and Charlotte, NC.

For the First Time, National Taxpayer Advocate 2006 Annual Report alerted
Congress that one of the most serious problems encountered by taxpayers with
disabilities is reasonable accommodations. www.irs.gov Publication P2104C. December
31, 2006. pp. 376-395.




                                                                                           12
                    Highlights of Implementation of Tour cities
   Albany, NY      A VITA/EITC Day was held at the Capital District Center for Independence
                    (Independent Living Center) with Brian McLane from NDI and Jeffrey
                    Pearlman of the Disabilities Law Clinic as speakers. Representatives from
                    Bank of America, Social Security and Department of Labor held individualized
                    financial education sessions throughout the day. The local Independent Living
                    Center conducted disabilities training for VITA volunteers and the training
                    model will be used in the future for all coalition members and volunteers.
                    Social Security two workshops, Securing Benefits and Work Incentives, for
                    staff who work with persons with disabilities. The grant facilitated the
                    development of a simplified financial education program, written at a lower
                    literacy level and including more visual symbols, larger-type font and practical
                    examples for each topic covered.
   Atlanta         The grant from REI was utilized to plan, organize, and host a Free Tax
                    Preparation Day at a local community college for individuals with disabilities
                    and their families. In addition to the free tax service, this event raised EITC
                    awareness in the community, and strengthened partnerships among disability
                    service agencies and other community organizations in the Atlanta area. The
                    heightened awareness of the importance of the Earned Income Tax Credit as
                    an anti-poverty tool, created a sense of urgency to bring members of the
                    community together to discuss other tax credits/benefits and asset
                    development opportunities for individuals with disabilities. 839 individuals with
                    disabilities and/or their families’ members were served throughout
                    Atlanta/Georgia with free tax preparation for Tax Year 2006. The local Bank of
                    America was part of the special disability day.
   Baltimore, MD   The Disability Initiative met with Baltimore Cash Campaign and several
                    organizations serving the disabled community to establish a partnering
                    relationship. This project will service working people with disabilities by
                    assisting them with asset development, asset planning, tax preparation, and
                    financial-tax education. The Commission's goal is to link accessible facilities
                    and technologies (i.e. interpreters) with trusting disability providers with
                    Baltimore City Government to outreach to the disabled community. The
                    Mayor’s office will be conducting future meetings to plan educational and
                    outreach events that will benefit the disabled community. On April 13, 2007, a
                    press conference was held for the reading of the Mayor's Proclamation.
                    Mayor Sheila Dixon announced Baltimore City is a participant of the Real
                    Economic Impact Tour during the proclamation in reference to the
                    commitment to the initiative at a press conference covered on TV25 (the
                    Baltimore City Community channel) and channel 54. The Mayor's
                    Commission also hosted a Disabilities Business Forum on April 20, 2007 held
                    by the Mayor’s office of Baltimore City to discuss partnering opportunities.
                    Various city, state and government agencies were in attendance, as well as,
                    the Baltimore Cash Coalition.
   Boston          This year a new strategy designed to improve customer service to individuals
                    with disabilities was the “Raising Awareness: A Disability Sensitivity
                    Workshop”, which was presented at the site coordinator training in the
                    beginning of January 2007. The workshop included several presentations by
                    local disabilities and community-based organizations. In addition, the Boston
                    Earned Income Tax Credit Coalition’s Disability Working Group is organizing a
                    “Disability Community Town Meeting,” which will be held Tuesday, June 26,
                    2007 at the Suffolk University Law School. Local Bank of America staff

                                                                                                  13
                   invited to Mayor EITC event and special Town Meeting to participate as a
                   panelist.
   Charlotte      The Coalition provided free tax preparation services at 13 sites in
                   Mecklenburg County. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing were
                   provided scheduled appointments in which an interpreter was hired to assist.
                   The Family Financial Literacy Coalition conducted four free tax preparation
                   sessions specifically for the taxpayers with disabilities at a remote site located
                   at the North Carolina Division of Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
                   office. This site is in close proximity to other agencies and/or organizations
                   that also service this population. The tax returns completed at the 13 free tax
                   preparation sites in Mecklenburg County totaled 4,479 with approximately
                   18% for individuals with a disability.
   Columbus, OH   The concept of a disability initiative was discussed with the Franklin County
                   EITC Coalition and coalition member United Way of Central Ohio took the
                   lead and began integrating a disability initiative effort into existing efforts in the
                   2007 filing season. During subsequent “community-wide” meetings
                   discussions included county-wide disability efforts to engage all key local
                   disability organizations, as well as members of the coalition. To measure
                   impact, the coalition survey was amended to include the disability question.
                   United Way of Central Ohio developed a partnership with Goodwill Columbus
                   and identified key activities for outreach and return preparation which included
                   sponsoring a Super Saturday event for the disabled populations. Due to a
                   late start in 2007, the decision was made for the initial year to concentrate
                   efforts on providing education and awareness opportunities (on EITC and free
                   tax preparation services) to all interested disability organizations. Disability
                   organizations were provided partner developed literature about free-tax
                   preparation and EITC. Additionally, United Way of Central Ohio distributed
                   literature during monthly agency meetings for members to pass on to their
                   clients. Educational information on public benefit interaction was available at
                   the coalition sites that used the Benefit Bank software.
   Dallas, TX     Goodwill Industries of Dallas, Inc. was proud to complete its second year as a
                   VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) site as well as participant in the Real
                   Economic Impact Tour. Our focus was upon ensuring that people with
                   disabilities and other employed, low-income people, are aware of this tax
                   credit and will be taking advantage of it when filing their income tax returns.
                   Goodwill served 113 clients. The average EITC was $1,424.56, the total EITC
                   was $64,104 and the average refund was $1,726.98.
   Flint, MI      This year members of the coalition sponsored an Asset Building Day geared
                   toward persons with disabilities. Several banks, mortgage companies, The
                   Volunteer Center, local disability agencies, Housing Agencies, Goodwill as
                   well as the IRS, set up information tables at the fair. Banks, Educational
                   Institutions, Housing Agencies and mortgage companies offered workshops
                   on credit repair, home buying grants, ways to increase earning potential,
                   entrepreneurship and real estate investments. The event was held in the gym
                   of an elementary school which provides services to children with special
                   needs. Flyers were sent home with all the students, to local disability agencies
                   and coalition members. There was a good turn out for the event. The
                   coalition prepared 308 returns for persons with disabilities. Students from
                   University of Michigan (Flint) volunteered at a one day site for the hearing
                   impaired held at a local Credit Union. All sites were wheelchair accessible.




                                                                                                      14
   Houston, TX    The following is a narration by Mrs. Alvita McKinney, Program Administrator
                   for the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, where she shares one of the
                   many stories that made the REI Tour worthwhile.

                   “It was about 12:30 today. The tables were bare and everyone had packed up
                   and gone. In walks a young lady with papers in her hand from the
                   WorkSource. Somehow, she and her friend had gotten lost. She was very
                   dismayed, and wanted to know where to go to file her taxes. She lived off
                   Hwy 59N and Aldine Mail Route and indicated that there was a J....Hew....
                   office near her. She received her W-2 two weeks ago, but her mom told her
                   not to do anything until she came to our Forum. I tried to explain how to get
                   the VITA website, but she did not have ready access to a computer. WOW!!
                   Everyone was gone. Everyone except CECILIA JOSEPH - Super Information
                   Officer to the rescue (smile). In the middle of directing her to the VITA SITE at
                   59 and Tidwell, a lady from that very VITA SITE location walked in. When I
                   left, Ms. Joseph had already converted the citizen and put her on the right
                   path. That citizen got help today. Thank you Ms. Cecilia for being you.
                   Thank you all for stepping in with smiling hearts and willing spirits.”
                   More than 100 Health and Human Service organizations came together to
                   receive and share resource information for low-income families and persons
                   with disabilities in early January. Affirmative Access (Houston’s cable station)
                   featured NDI and Houston Asset Building Coalition representatives discussing
                   EITC, CTC, and VITA sites (including a tour). It promoted the Economic
                   Empowerment Forum for People with Disabilities. The show’s first segment
                   was broadcast throughout the income tax season.
   Indiana, PA    Partnered with S & T Bank to offer Smart Start Checking Account featuring
                   free checking with no minimum balance requirement, free ATM/Debit card and
                   many other features. Published a flyer to advertise free tax preparation and
                   electronic filing.
   Jacksonville   Channel 4 aired the first tax return of the season being prepared for a
                   husband & wife, both with disabilities. Segment focused on tax prep for
                   people with disabilities. ILRC tax site coordinated 3 days throughout the tax
                   season where interpreters were hired to work with deaf clients during their
                   returns. Originally, there were only two days scheduled for these services, but
                   due to a higher than anticipated response from the community, a third day
                   was needed to meet the demand. The coalition is still tabulating the data
                   collected. Bank of America attended the EITC kick-off and a check was
                   presented to the coalition from NDI in honor of their participation in the
                   disability work.
   Los Angeles    Local organizations containing a DI component were approached, specifically
                   City and County agencies with DI missions - LA County Commission on
                   Disabilities and LA City Dept on Disability. Both agreed to do target Outreach
                   – LA County through their Media connection and LA City through their various
                   Outreach workshops. Targeted Outreach was expanded through existing VITA
                   partners, such as HIV/AIDS Legal Services Alliance and California State
                   University Northridge (CSUN), which has a Center on Disabilities in addition to
                   their traditional VITA Program. Through CSUN and the Southern California
                   Tax Assistance Program (SCTAP), an emerging partnership was created with
                   the Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness (GLAD). El Camino Community
                   College offered to let their students join with GLAD & CSUN next year as Sign
                   Interpreters, to help at future VITA events aimed at Persons with Disabilities
                   (PWD’s). The El Camino students will earn “community work” credit this way.
                   There were no Sites without Disability Access. A few organizations focused
                                                                                                 15
                   tax prep for PWD’s. CSUN, SCTAP and GLAD offered special “Tax Days”,
                   and an Independent Living Center (ILC) offered help through an IRS
                   employee organization, the Hispanic Internal Revenue Employees or HIRE.
                   DI tax awareness on specific credits and medical deductions was taught to
                   two new Partners in San Luis Obispo County (SLO). One Partner, the
                   Economic Opportunity Commission of SLO County, focused about 25% of
                   their return prep on PWD’s this year, their first year. They did this through
                   existing connections to “PWD” programs throughout SLO County.
   Louisville, KY One of our AARP Tax-Aide sites held two super site days at Goodwill and
                   prepared 30 returns. Our biggest success for this year was being able to ask
                   the "Disability Question" in our survey at our 12 VITA sites. Out of the 4,244
                   people surveyed; 650 people answered the question "yes". It has been a very
                   slow start for Louisville...but we have high hopes for things to be different next
                   year. We are working to establish a Disability Sub-Group within the Louisville
                   Asset Building Coalition with recruitment currently underway for a chair.
                   When the chair is selected they will be charged with developing an Action
                   Plan for Filing Season 2008.
   Manchester, NH As part of the Asset Accumulation & Tax Policy Project, three Manchester
                   Community Television shows were hosted by the Moving Right Along Show
                   and rebroadcasted on multiple occasions. Show one oriented approximately
                   30,000 viewers in the city of Manchester about the AATPP project; show 2
                   provided detailed information on tax credits for people with disabilities via
                   guests Cathy Flynn, Senior Tax Specialist with SPEC, and Tobey Davies.
                   Show three oriented viewers to the AARP Tax Aide Program and provided
                   information to viewers on the tax training and free tax prep services they
                   provide to the community of Manchester. BudgetWise, a newsletter created
                   specifically for people with disabilities on financial topics, was developed.
                   Approximately 16,000 newsletters were disseminated (combination of
                   hardcopy and electronic) to individuals with disabilities and organizations that
                   support people with disabilities. With REI support, a Financial Fitness Open
                   House was conducted on Wednesday evening, February 21. Approximately
                   11 vendors were present, including housing organizations, career training
                   groups, Independent Living Center, Bonnie Clac, NH Community Loan Fund,
                   special needs trust organizations, MS Society, and AARP, Disability Rights
                   Center and others. Mini workshops were offered to registering participants,
                   and free tax prep was also availed.
   Milwaukee, WI  The main event is the “Open House” of a totally accessible home to be sold to
                   a family with a disability. The city of Milwaukee Mayor’s office and partners
                   will sponsor a cook–out in celebration of the completion of the home. Local
                   partners will be invited to participate in this Real Economic Impact Tour event.
                   Financial Fair – Banks that are members of the Milwaukee Asset Building
                   Coalition (MABC) will be on site to offer incentives to open checking and
                   saving accounts. Workshops will be offered in financial literacy, such as “Get
                   Checking” which has a major component in credit repair.
   Minneapolis/   AccountAbility Minnesota and AARP have taken active roles in assisting
    St. Paul, MN   persons with disabilities by making available free preparation of their tax
                   returns. Both organizations go out to group homes, senior citizens centers,
                   assisted living centers, etc. to assist with tax return prep. They also, in some
                   instances, have group home coordinators collect tax return information from
                   their residents and bring the information into selected sites to have the returns
                   prepared. Both organizations count the number of taxpayers assisted.
                   AccountAbility has a question on their intake sheet asking taxpayers if they
                   consider themselves to be disabled, while AARP hand writes on their intake
                                                                                                  16
                     sheet the taxpayers response to a verbal question on disabilities. Minn/St.
                     Paul prepared 6,327 tax returns for people with disabilities.
   New York, NY     We are also particularly proud of the services we have been able to provide to
                     our disabled clients. This season, close to 6,000 clients or over 15% of our
                     clients identified themselves as disabled or living in a disabled household.
                     These households received $8.8 million in refunds through our services. New
                     York also had a mobile site that went to four locations and served 81
                     taxpayers, 56 who had disabilities. While I believe there is good outreach
                     value in conducting mobile events it is clear that timing (earlier is better) and
                     level of commitment from the partners is a crucial ingredient for success. In
                     the grand scheme of the impact that we have on the disabled community, we
                     may have a higher return on investment by focusing on how best to serve the
                     15% of our clients who are disabled who seek us out at our fixed location sites
                     and targeting a few mobile events with partners who have a proven track
                     record.
   Oakland          In mid-April California’s First Lady Maria Shriver concluded her state wide tour
                     to promote the EITC with an event co-hosted with United Way of the Bay Area
                     at Laney College in Oakland. The event included free tax preparation
                     services, a community organization resource fair and financial literacy
                     workshops. Our World Disability Institute/Access to Assets (WID) partner
                     provided information through an exhibit table and financial literacy workshops
                     entitled “The Difference Disability Makes.” The Independent Living Resource
                     and Special Olympics also had exhibit tables at the Resource Fair. The
                     successful four-hour event was well publicized and covered by local print and
                     electronic media reaching a wide market, including many ethnic communities.
                     Eighty thousand flyers in 6 languages were printed and distributed in Alameda
                     County. They were also accessible for downloading from our web site. Out of
                     4,838 respondents to the survey, approximately 31% answered “Yes” to the
                     question - “Do you or anyone in your household have a disability?”
   Phoenix          The City of Phoenix, in partnership with the IRS and the Governor’s Council,
                     held the 2007 EITC Campaign Kickoff on the lawn of the State Capitol. More
                     than 1,700 people with disabilities attended the event, which was coordinated
                     with an annual Legislative Awareness Day for People with Disabilities, and
                     included presentations by the Mayor, City Council members, and personal
                     testimonials by people who had benefited by the EITC Program. Based on
                     random surveys conducted at VITA sites, it was estimated that approximately
                     10% of the people accessing these sites self-reported as people with
                     disabilities. Thus, at the 28 sites, it is estimated that over 650 people with
                     disabilities were served. Bank of America participated in a number of EITC
                     events during the 2007 season.
   Providence, RI   During the 2007 filing season, a local disability initiative was developed in
                     Providence. The first part of the initiative was to plan and promote a special
                     tax day for people with a disability. Rhode Island is the smallest state in the
                     US, but people here have a tendency to not want to travel out of the county
                     (city even) that they live in. Some of the bigger issues we had to work out
                     were selecting a date, ensuring the sites willing to participate had the ability to
                     assist (ex. interpreters, ramps, tax law on DI), how to track the
                     information/determine who is disabled, and how to get the people into the
                     sites. Some sites did not have anyone come in on these special days, but
                     most agreed that the word and the trust needs to get out there and will build
                     up in future years. During 2007 I also did a lot of outreach to local agencies
                     that assist people with disabilities. In 2007 I had some other notable activity. I
                     attended two fairs for RI Parent Information Network (RIPIN). RIPIN
                                                                                                     17
                      advocates for parents/guardians to get services for their children whom have a
                      disability, whether it is physical or mental. The 1st fair was “Transition for
                      Youth”. This fair was held for families of children with disabilities who are
                      transitioning into the work force after high school. I was able to assist 137
                      families and teachers by explaining the tax credits and benefits available to
                      them.
   San Antonio       San Antonio Independent Living Services (SAILS), and the Antioch
                      Community Transformation Network (ACTN) hosted a community fair at the
                      Claude Black Community Center. Services for the disabled were emphasized
                      with 30 organizations present, including Deaf Interpreter Services, Deaf Link,
                      and SAILS. The fair also served to better inform the public of available
                      services for the disabled through a news conference attended by San Antonio
                      City Councilman Richard Perez and Mr. Dennis J. Campa, Director,
                      Department of Community Initiatives, City of San Antonio. More than 400
                      people attended the fair, with 60 individuals receiving free tax preparation
                      services, of which 10 were persons with a disability. Two sites targeting
                      persons with disabilities prepared 191 returns resulting in approximately
                      $286,000 in refunds. Bank of America was mentioned in a number of events in
                      San Antonio as a partner in the disability work.
   Traverse City, MI The Northwest Michigan Tax coalition developed a local disability initiative in
                      Traverse City in 2006. The coalition provides free tax return preparation to
                      families, seniors and persons with disabilities. All sites were wheelchair
                      accessible. The coalition sponsored two Super Saturday Specials. Persons
                      with disabilities were able to have Federal and State returns prepared and
                      open savings accounts. In addition, child care was available and door prizes
                      and refreshments were served. The second special event was held at the
                      United Way Volunteer Center. Residents of area homes for disabled adults
                      were invited to have their Federal and State returns prepared and
                      electronically filed. Refreshments were served and information regarding
                      asset building was distributed.
   Washington, DC Gallaudet University leads the world in undergraduate liberal arts education,
                      career development, and outstanding graduate programs for deaf, hard of
                      hearing and hearing students. Hearing impaired students at Gallaudet
                      University volunteer their time to prepare returns for the student population
                      under the VITA Program. Despite having hearing disabilities, the students
                      overcome all obstacles and run a successful program. This year the students
                      at Gallaudet University completed 250 returns. Discussions have been held
                      with Professor Emilia Chukwama to expand their services to the deaf
                      community off campus. Gallaudet has also published an article in their
                      newsletter to promote various tax credits, such as, Earned Income Tax Credit,
                      Child Tax Credit, Education Credit, and the Retirement Savings Contribution
                      Credit.
   West Palm         Disability sites processed 1,312 returns this year with 1,839,051 in total
    Beach, FL         refunds. West Palm is looking at programs that can keep VITA volunteers
                      engaged during the tax "off season." We are planning on deploying one
                      volunteer at Goodwill and one volunteer at the Palm Beach Habilitation
                      Center. These volunteers will pre-screen clients and visitors for public
                      benefits on a year-round basis. As part of an intensive initiative to help high
                      school students with disabilities make a successful transition to young
                      adulthood, UWPBC partnered with the School District of Palm Beach County
                      and other public and private agencies to present the third annual STARS
                      Conference (Start Transition and Realize Success). Approximately 250
                      students, parents, caregivers and providers attended the day-long conference
                                                                                                  18
              on May 5. The conference was designed to teach students with disabilities
              and their families to be effective self-advocates, and to connect with services
              students need to make a successful transition and achieve post-high school
              goals. Workshops focused on preparing individuals with disabilities to function
              productively in post-secondary educational programs, at work, and in their
              personal lives.
   Wichita   The focus of the Wichita Disability Initiative this year was on a series of
              “Mobile Tax Days” held at nine disability provider organizations. AARP
              volunteers also prepared returns at Envision. In brief, a total of 222 returns
              were prepared, with 207 of these for people with disabilities. Of the 1,975 tax
              returns prepared by the Wichita EITC Coalition, 746 of them were for persons
              with a disability with income averaging only $8,882 per taxpayer. These 746
              people received $286,723 in refunds of which 311 received $120,093 in
              federal Earned Income Tax Credit. Kansas also has EITC and these same
              311 people with disabilities received $18,026 additional in Kansas EITC.




                                                                                           19
Number of Persons With Disabilities Assisted with Income Tax Filing
                     in the 25 Grant Cities1

                 REIT City                          Free Tax Preparation

     Albany, NY                                                                 35
     Atlanta, GA                                                               839
     Baltimore, MA                                                               0
     Boston, MA                                                                600
     Charlotte, NC                                                             188
     Columbus, OH                                                               40
     Dallas, TX                                                                113
     Flint, MI                                                                 308
     Houston, TX                                                             2,859
     Indiana, PA                                                                75
     Jacksonville, FL                                                          240
     Los Angeles, CA                                                           490
     Louisville, KY                                                            650
     Manchester , NH                                                           126
     Milwaukee, WI                                                             420
     Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN                                                6,327
     New York, NY                                                            7,013
     Oakland, CA                                                             2,802
     Phoenix, AZ                                                               350
     Providence, RI                                                            395
     San Antonio, TX                                                         3,147
     Traverse City, MI                                                          66
     Washington DC                                                             250
     West Palm, FL                                                           1,312
     Wichita, KS                                                               746
                           TOTAL-                                           29,391
1
Some cities did not ask the question, “Do you or a member of your family consider yourself
to be a person with a disability?” Therefore their total reflects a zero.




                                                                                        20
Number of Persons With Disabilities Assisted with Income Tax Filing
                in all 54 Cities in the REI Tour1

                                                           Free Tax
                           Number of     Outreach to
                                                         Preparation to
       REIT City           Disability    PWD and/or
                                                          PWD and/or
                            Partners      Families
                                                            Families

Albany, NY                           3           6,000                35
Appleton, WI                         1           3,500             1,635
Atlanta, GA                         17          11,777               839
Boise, ID                            7          11,643               244
Boston, MA                          10           4,150               600
Charlotte, NC                        3              50               188
Chicago, IL                          1             258                 0
Cincinnati, OH                       2               0                54
Columbus, OH                         5             840                40
Dallas, TX                          12           2,900               113
Denver, CO                           0              17                 0
Detroit, MI                          4           1,200                31
El Paso, TX                          6           6,000                 0
Flint, MI                           10             300               308
Hartford, CT                         4          14,000                 0
Honolulu, HI                        10             200               107
Houston, TX                          7         202,450             2,859
Indianapolis, IN                    10           7,924               454
Jacksonville, FL                     5             400               240
Las Vegas, NV                       13           7,257                 0
Little Rock, AR                      3             500               150
Los Angeles, CA                     18         164,450               490
Louisville, KY                       4          10,000               650
Madison, WI                          9           8,025               603
Manchester, NH                       3          75,600               126
Memphis, TN                          2             500                19
Miami, FL                            9           1,990               222
Milwaukee, WI                        7          58,939               420
Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN             2               0             6,327
New York, NY                        13           4,546             7,013
Newark, NJ                           1               0                 0
Oakland, CA                          3           7,000             2,802
Oklahoma City, OK                    4           3,370                 0


                                                                           21
                                                                     Free Tax
                                 Number of        Outreach to
                                                                   Preparation to
           REIT City             Disability       PWD and/or
                                                                    PWD and/or
                                  Partners         Families
                                                                      Families

    Omaha, NE                              3              1,542                 204
    Phoenix, AZ                            7              6,295                 350
    Pittsburgh, PA                        12            112,550                  42
    Providence, RI                        47             25,553                 395
    Richmond, VA                           9              3,000                  52
    Rochester, NY                          5              5,567               1,630
    Rockford, IL                           0                  0                   0
    Sacramento, CA                         6              1,200                   0
    San Antonio, TX                        8              1,350               3,147
    San Diego, CA                          7             19,825                  59
    San Jose, CA                           5             46,002                 552
    Springfield, MA                        3                500                 345
    St. Louis, MO                          2            144,822                 246
    Syracuse, NY                           2                 80                  10
    Tampa, FL                              3                100                 125
    Traverse City, MI                      7                150                  66
    Tulsa, OK                              2              4,170                   0
    Washington DC                          1              1,800                 250
    West Palm, FL                          7              3,900               1,312
    Wichita, KS                            9              6,650                 746
    Winston-Salem, NC                      2                200                 175
                        Totals           355          1,001,042              36,275
1
Some cities did not ask the question, “Do you or a member of your family consider yourself
to be a person with a disability?” Therefore their total reflects a zero.

                                          # # #




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