An increasing number of workers are overwhelmed with debt, seeing their savings plummet, or are falling behind with their monthly bills. More families are turning to debt management assistance organizations, consumer credit counseling services, and home foreclosure prevention programs for help. These nonprofit organizations provide a range of financial services to help clients reduce debt, manage their money, and survive a decrease in household income. Such organizations are in a good position to help families understand that claiming the EITC and the CTC complement other approaches to addressing debt-related problems.
- Local debt management assistance organizations
- Foreclosure prevention programs
- Financial education and financial coaching programs
- Consumer assistance organizations
1. Partner with financial counseling organizations.
Reach out to local affiliates of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) or the Financial Counseling Association of America. Provide tax credit and free tax help information to counselors who can share it with clients and include it in newsletters and on websites. Provide contact info for Low Income Taxpayer Clinics that can help clients who owe back taxes or need professional help with other tax concerns.
2. Set up financial counselors during free tax preparation.
Tax filers may need foreclosure prevention, credit counseling, homeownership, or savings assistance. Financial counselors can share information about their services at a VITA site or “Super Saturday” event or offer free credit reports and explain credit scores and how tax refunds can help improve credit history.
3. Integrate tax info into the intake process.
Help consumer assistance organizations incorporate information about claiming the EITC and CTC into their intake, screening, or orientation process. Provide materials with eligibility requirements and free tax filing options.
4. Link consumer assistance groups to financial education programs.
Organizations providing financial education classes, Individual Development Account (IDA) programs, or investment clubs frequently include a focus on personal finance. Consumer assistance groups can share how the tax credits can help workers meet their goals.
- National Foundation for Credit Counseling Member Agency Locator
- Homeownership Preservation Foundation – provides free foreclosure prevention counseling
- Annual Credit Report.com – help taxpayers get free credit reports