The Expanding Economic Opportunity Through Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (EEOVITA) cohort has been working to identify and engage targeted, underserved populations most at risk for missing out on the expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC) benefit. This project, which began in January 2022 and concludes in December 2024, aims to ensure that economically vulnerable households in underserved communities can access high-quality tax preparation services for free, claim the expanded CTC, Economic Impact Payment, Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and other tax credits. Specifically, we seek to enhance outreach strategies to reach first-time and lapsed filers -- including Native communities, returning citizens, homeless people and immigrants -- that have been historically hardest to reach due to misconceptions about tax credit eligibility, the digital divide, language barriers and cultural/trust issues.
This resource is the product of lessons learned by the EEOVITA cohort in Year One of targeted outreach. We will highlight methods for assessing community needs, enhancing outreach efforts and key takeaways identified by the cohort that other VITA programs can utilize to identify and engage individuals from underserved populations who are not claiming income-boosting tax credits, like the CTC.