Reimagining Tax Time Services for New Yorkers

New Yorkers with low incomes often pay hundreds of dollars for tax preparation when they may qualify for free, high-quality tax services in their communities, and many who are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) never claim it, leaving thousands of dollars on the table each year.

At the same time, funding for the community-based Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) programs has been decreasing. “Designing for Financial Empowerment” seeks to re-design tax time services to help New Yorkers take advantage of the tax opportunities available to them while maximizing limited resources of VITA providers.

Our stakeholders represent the complexity of tax preparation

Parsons Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability (DESIS) Lab, NYC Department of Consumer Affairs Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE), NYC Center for Economic Opportunity, the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City, and Food Bank for New York City are partnering with the generous support of Citi Community Development on “Designing for Financial Empowerment” to re-imagine the way free tax preparation services are delivered in New York City.

Our process is collaborative and service-orientated

A number of stakeholders will be involved in the process, including policymakers, community and civic leaders, social service organizations, local business owners, tax preparers, and tax filers, in order to discover, co-design, and prototype a new way to deliver tax preparation services in New York City. OFE and DESIS seek to engage our many partners to participate in this exciting initiative as experts in the field, co-designers, and testers, to enhance accessibility to free and low-cost tax preparation services and tax credits for low-income New Yorkers.