Monday, January 03, 2005

Economic and financial justice begins with information: A LIBRARIAN AT EVERY TABLE-238

January 3, 2005. No. 238.
Sources & Sites for Community Building.

Economic and financial justice begins with information.

Libraries can provide people with the 2004 Earned Income Tax Credit Outreach kit.

Tax season brings out predatory financial institutions that offer Refund Anticipation Loans (RALs), usurious short-term loans secured by the tax payer's expected tax refund. Those eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) make up over 50% of all RAL recipients. In 2001 RALs siphoned off an estimated $749 million in loan fees and administrative/electronic filing fees from low-wage workers who receive the EITC. The National Consumer Law Center 2004 Refund Anticipation Loan Report
provides background that could be supplied along with Tax Forms.

The Bank, Post Office and Library (BPOL)Tax Forms Distribution Program is a broad reaching effort to make tax materials more accessible to the American public. It is strictly a voluntary program created to provide taxpayers with alternative methods to obtain tax forms. There is no legal or federal mandate that requires any agency or organization, other than the Internal Revenue Service, to stock and distribute federal tax forms. Each year more than 44,000 nonprofit organizations partner with IRS to distribute tax products, providing a valuable service to citizens by helping them obtain the tax materials they need to prepare their tax returns.

ACORN-Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now
is campaigning to end unjust financial practices and to educate the public.

Libraries are a natural ally in educating people about economic justice and providing access to information. The Providence Public Library, national award winner for library service, is part of a city-wide coalition to increase access and awareness of the Earned Income Tax Credit. If people send me examples of public library support for Tax and the EITC I will share. Please go to A Librarian At Every Table website and send information on library programs for economic justice.

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