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About the REI Tour

The Real Economic Impact Tour is devoted to building a better economic future for millions of low-income individuals with disabilities and their families nationwide. Dedicated to the development of a roadmap out of poverty, the Real Economic Impact Tour (REI Tour) captures the power of collaboration and innovation. The REI Tour’s mission is to change expectations of communities to benefit from full participation of people with disabilities in the economic mainstream. 


Since 2005, the Real Economic Impact Tour (REI Tour) has assisted 693,402 people with free tax preparation, representing $663.8 million in refunds and $138.4 million in saved preparer fees. Starting as a small pilot in 11 cities, the REI Tour began with the goal of building more disability-inclusive, free tax coalitions across the country. In 2006, thanks to two grants from the Ford Foundation and National Cooperative Bank, as well as a national partnership with The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the efforts of their Wage and Investment Research division, inaugural data collection efforts were completed in a four-city focus-group pilot; the research focused on tax filing needs and characteristics of taxpayers with disabilities.

It was this new data which propelled the REI Tour expansion to 54 cities in 2007 and led to the addition of Bank of America as our premier corporate sponsor. Also in 2007, again through national partner the IRS, additional data was collected which further underscored REI Tour efforts: 51 % of EITC (Earned Income Tax Credit) - eligible taxpayers made under $21,000 a year. Moreover, $1 billion plus in ETIC was left unclaimed by taxpayers with disabilities.

Thanks to this new research, between 2008 and 2009, the REI Tour expanded to 84 cities and corporate sponsorship grew to include AT&TDarden Restaurants Foundation, Acorda Therapeutics Inc., Walmart, and 54Freedom. Now, in 2011, the national movement of the REI Tour reaches 100 cities, providing mini-grants to organizations around the country who have joined us in our commitment to building a better economic future.


Six-year summary of the REI Tour Outcomes and Community Impact 
Year Cities Local Partners Returns Prepared % Increase EITC Claims
Refunds Received Tax Prep $ Saved
2005 11 ---- 7,600 ---- 1,710 $0.7 m $ 6.8 m $ 1.5 m
2006 33 200 17,223 127% 3,875 $1.6 m $ 15.3 m $ 3.4 m
2007 54 355 36,275 111% 8,162 $3.7 m $ 32.6 m $ 7.2 m
2008 62 555 90,653 150% 20,397 $9.7 m $ 81.5 m $ 18.1 m
2009 84 634 181,152 100% 40,759 $19.4 m $ 176.6 m $ 36.2 m
2010 100 710 360,499 99% 81,112 $38.5 m $351.5 m $72.0 m
TOTAL 693,402 156,015 $73.6 m $ 663.8 m $ 138.4 m