How can free tax preparation help the jobseekers I serve?
Encouraging access to free tax preparation in American Job Centers (AJCs) can increase an individual’s economic stability, improve educational attainment and employment outcomes. Evidence shows that bundling three core services of employment, financial and income supports leads to job retention and increased monthly net income.
Job Seekers and the American Job Center
Known by a variety of names (One Stop Career Centers, Workforce Centers, Career Links and other locally selected names), most people are familiar with their local unemployment office; but, many are not aware of the diversified services and resources offered by this system or opportunities for partnership. Collectively known as American Job Centers nationwide, AJCs now serve as the cornerstone of the public workforce system, providing key federal programs and critical local resources that help people find jobs, identify training programs and tap into resources to gain skills in growing industries.
Why Free Tax Preparation in the American Job Center Network?
Many of the 20 million customers who access AJCs each year are unemployed or remain within the low- to-moderate income range even after they gain employment. There are also many underserved and underemployed groups that are served by various co-located partners within the workforce system that can greatly benefit from critical tax services and credits including Veterans, at-risk youth, ex-offenders, people with disabilities and recipients of public benefits.
Reports from AJCs that are already incorporating on-site tax preparation into their service delivery models show a positive linkage to employment outcomes and job retention. Given these findings, in addition to the diverse customer-base of the workforce system in need of increased employment opportunities and greater financial stability, AJCs are ideally positioned to integrate free tax preparation services.
In 2013, MyFreeTaxes was piloted in 10 AJC regions across the country and helped to drive more than 1,000 taxpayers to self-file on MyFreeTaxes.com. Workforce leadership and staff from these regions reported that promoting awareness of and access to MyFreeTaxes was a natural fit and value-added for the entire workforce community.
To find an AJC near you, go to http://www.servicelocator.org and enter your zip code.
Increase access to free tax prep options and add FREE services to your existing location
- Partner with VITA to offer free tax prep on-site at AJC during tax season
- Partner with regional tax coalition to coordinate outreach to eligible individuals and families within AJC
- Recruit VITA-certified Tax Coach to assist self-filers on MyFreeTaxes.com on-site at AJC
- Approach business community (WIB, Chamber, employers) to show economic benefits of free tax prep awareness/access to employees
"Tax season 2016-2017 is going great. We have been able to retain quite a few of the volunteer Tax Coaches from last year and they are helping a lot of customers complete their taxes in house. We also extended the services to our new location in southern Cook County, Illinois. We opened up a services in November and our regional IRS Representative has been a great help in getting MyFreeTaxes set up there." -
Illinois Workforce Center
For more on Workforce initiatives contact Jamie Robinson firstname.lastname@example.org