As noted by Hannah Emple on Friday, Tax Time 2012 is here. Every year brings some degree of change to the Tax Time process. For instance, last year was the first year that Savings Bonds were available for purchase directly on the tax form and we worked with the Congressional Savings and Ownership Caucus to help educate Members of Congress about that change so that they might better assist their constituents. This year one of the notable developments is that this appears to be the last year of the Refund Anticipation Loan (RAL) a product that has essentially become worthless given advances in technology. Business Insider has a nice piece on those details.
The BI piece also reminds us that there are some pillars of tax time that don't change year after year. For example, they list a variety of ways that low-income individuals can track down free tax preparation assistance and file their taxes for free. Those features, and the need to promote them has become a perennial feature of Tax Time. One other pillar of the season, the Earned Income Tax Credit. The EITC has basically become America's largest and most effective anti-poverty program. It provides millions of families with a lift that they desperately need. It also provides them with a rare and critical opportunity to save and make significant investments in their families financial health.
Fittingly, this Thursday is EITC Awareness Day and we're co-sponsoring an event for Congressional staff, "Promoting the Security of America's Working Families: A Review of the EITC's Value and Discussion of 2012 Implications" with the National Community Tax Coalition and a host of other organizations.
The event will feature a new report on the impact and importance of the EITC, which serves not only as a boost for families, but a major boost to local economies across the nation. Wal-Mart is providing a member of their federal relations team to give their perspective on the importance of the EITC and our own David Rothstein is going to speak to his experience in Ohio and discuss the role of the EITC in promoting savings.
The event is from 10am until 11:30am in 121 Cannon House Office Building. Congressional staff are strongly encouraged to come and to spread the word.