Asset Building Financial Inclusion Working Paper

VITA Sites: Linking Tax Returns and Asset Building Strategies in Indian Country

On an individual and family basis, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) has important poverty alleviation characteristics. Few populations or places in the United States are as needful of the dollars provided by EITC receipt as Indian Country. The receipt of EITC will not alleviate poverty in Indian Country alone, but can be a viable start by providing thousands of dollars to families in Native communities. During the two years this project has been underway, more than 9,000 tax returns have been filed at 14 Voluntary Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites serving Indian Country. The study examined the number of Native community members who are eligible for EITC, the amount of money flowing to Native community members through EITC, potential uses of EITC income, and opportunities to build community infrastructure and programs that could help EITC and other tax dollars remain in Native communities and serve as leverage for further asset building.

Citation

Wagner, K., Edwards, K., Hertel, A. L., Jorgensen, M., & Klar, D. (2007). VITA sites: Linking tax returns and asset building strategies in Indian country (CSD Working Paper No. 07-32). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development.