Counties Use Technology to Promote the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)
Counties used technology to promote the new California EITC, the federal EITC, and the VITA program. The 2015 tax filing year was the first for the new state EITC, which is targeted to very low income earners, and is also the first year for Medi-Cal recipients to receive the 1095-B form providing information about their health coverage which is needed to complete tax returns.
This provides an excellent opportunity for counties to provide customers with referrals to the VITA program for free tax filing assistance, which will also assist them with claiming the California and/or federal EITC.
Counties are sharing technology practices and awareness campaign tools to help spread the message across communities.
San Bernardino’s VITA Promotional Hold Message
San Bernardino County is using a VITA promotional message on their telephones to play when calls are on hold. English and Spanish versions are below.
- Let us help you get the most out of your tax return through our fast and accurate Free Tax Preparation Services! This service is offered by IRS certified tax preparers at no cost to you and at convenient locations and times. Ask our Customer Service Agent for the phone number of the office nearest you to make an appointment and let us prepare and e-file your tax return for free. It’s your money. Get it!
- Permítanos ayudarle a obtener el máximo provecho de su declaración de impuestos a través de nuestro servicio de preparacion de impuestos gratuito, rápido y preciso. Nuestros preparadores de impuestos están certificados por el IRS, nuestros horarios y localidades son convenientes para usted. Pida información adicional a nuestros agentes de servicio al cliente, ellos le brindaran el numero de teléfono de la oficina mas cercana a usted para programar su cita. ¡Es su dinero! ¡Agárralo!
San Francisco’s Scrolling Lobby Message & Staff Talking Points
San Francisco is using VITA promotional messaging on the scrolling message boards in their customer lobbies, including translations into Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, and Russian. They have also developed talking points for their staff to answer inquiries about tax filing assistance. Other counties are welcome to modify and customize these materials with their local VITA appointment line and locations.
California VITA Site Locator is Live!
The state has assembled a VITA site locator at caleitc4me.org/get-it/. This locator includes special VITA events and offers the ability to search by location, language, and whether or not the site offers appointments. Counties can connect their customers to this site using text messages, tweets, and/or on their websites.
SAWS’ Customer Lists for Targeted Outreach
The Statewide Automated Welfare System (SAWS) has created and distributed a list of customers who may be eligible to the EITC (state and/or federal) to each county for targeted outreach. These lists were pulled based on recently active cases in all programs, where someone in the case had earned income. Because these lists are based on receipt of public assistance, they are subject to the normal confidentiality provisions, and cannot be shared with outside partners.