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Deaf Tax VITA Pilot

The REI Tour Deaf Tax VITA Pilot was designed to build capacity and infrastructure for Deaf taxpayers to access services in existing free tax assistance programs/systems, both public and private, that serve low-income Deaf individuals.

The Pilot was created in 2008, after a number of REI Tour cities requested assistance in supporting Deaf taxpayers. NDI in partnership with Schwarz Financial Services/ and IRS Deaf Empowerment and Advocacy Forum designed and implemented the pilot in collaboration with five REI Tour cities. Snap!VRS provided their video relay service phones and provided installation technology assistance at no cost. The pilot utilized real-time American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) certified off-site Deaf tax preparers to bring free tax preparation to Deaf taxpayers who are Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) eligible.

A total of 80 federal returns were prepared including 13 for families. These 80 returns generated $111,343 in federal refunds and $35,092 in state refunds. Included in these refunds is $39,086 in EITC. The taxpayers assisted through this Pilot saved $11,353 in tax preparation fees, money they would have spent if they had gone to a professional tax preparer. Pilot Phase One Report
August 2009
(1.3mb, PDF)

For more information, please contact:

Johnette Hartnett, [email protected]
Judy Stengel, [email protected]