AmeriCorps Helps Coloradans Receive $15M and Counting in Tax Relief

AmeriCorps Helps Coloradans Receive $15 Million and Counting in Tax Relief

AmeriCorps, the federal agency for volunteerism and national service, Lt. Governor Dianne Primavera, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and Serve Colorado celebrated the extraordinary success of the Colorado Economic Mobility Partnership at an AmeriCorps Week event in Denver on Friday, March 17. The ongoing initiative has already returned more than $15 million in tax refunds to more than 6,800 Coloradoans over the last two years, with additional returns being completed every day through mid-April.

AmeriCorps NCCC Director Ken Goodson joined Lt. Governor Primavera, Representative Diana DeGette (CO-01), Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Chief Medical Officer Dr. Eric France and other local leaders at The Fax Partnership in Denver to celebrate the work AmeriCorps NCCC teams have been doing to save Coloradans millions since creating the Colorado Economic Mobility Partnership in November 2021. In 2022, AmeriCorps, the Polis-Primavera Administration, Serve Colorado and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment extended its partnership for two additional years.

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is leading these economic mobility efforts through numerous innovative initiatives involving state agency coordination and partnerships, funding Mile High United Way’s Tax Help Colorado and 2-1-1 programs, the Get Ahead Colorado statewide public information campaign connecting Coloradans to free tax help and grants to local agencies for statewide tax outreach. The tax returns prepared by trained AmeriCorps members bring much-needed economic relief, helping Coloradans have the financial resources to meet their basic needs, so people, parents, and children can thrive. Tax credits are an effective tool for poverty reduction and are linked to positive health and educational outcomes. Nearly half (approximately $6.3 million) of the $15 million in refunds came directly from tax credits.

“AmeriCorps Week is a time to celebrate the accomplishments of members and partnerships like the Colorado Economic Mobility Partnership that connect underserved communities to vital resources and support healthy economic futures,” said AmeriCorps CEO Michael D. Smith. “The American Rescue Plan tax benefits, including the Child Tax Credit, provided critical poverty relief to Americans in need. I’m incredibly proud of our federal-state partnerships in Colorado and across the country, putting millions of dollars back into our local communities, where it’s needed most.”

“The Polis-Primavera administration is committed to saving Coloradans money. Thanks to the great work of five AmeriCorps NCCC teams, almost seven thousand individuals and families have more money to spend as they see fit. A family’s finances have a direct impact on their wellness, and the Polis-Primavera administration is committed to creating a state where everyone can lead healthy lives,” said Colorado Lt. Governor Primavera.

“Tax preparation can be stressful for all of us, but with only 80% of eligible Coloradans claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit, so many families are leaving money on the table that could help them pay for their basic needs,” said Mile High United Way President and CEO Christine Benero. “Mile High United Way’s Tax Help Colorado is the largest Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program in Colorado, and we couldn’t provide the literally millions of dollars in refunds to families without our partners at AmeriCorps. We are so grateful for the talent, enthusiasm and compassion that AmeriCorps members bring to our Tax Help Colorado sites across the state.”

Three teams of AmeriCorps members in the NCCC program are currently preparing taxes in Colorado, serving with Mile High United Way’s Tax Help Colorado program, as well as the Denver Asset Building Coalition and United Way of Pueblo County. These members, trained on tax preparation for low-income taxpayers, serve in numerous roles: intake and interview, site coordinator, tax preparer (basic or advanced) and quality reviewer. The members deployed to sites in the Denver area and Pueblo, helping implement free tax preparation for low- and moderate-income households.

In addition to AmeriCorps NCCC teams, AmeriCorps members serving in the VISTA program and AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers are also helping with tax preparation and promoting tax resources throughout the state. In partnership with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, Serve Colorado is prioritizing funding economic mobility projects, to include the development of a statewide digital navigation program. Organizations interested in establishing an AmeriCorps program to support increased digital access and skills can submit a concept paper on the Serve Colorado funding page.

During AmeriCorps Week, AmeriCorps celebrates the millions of Americans ages 18 to 55+, who have served with AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps Seniors. In nearly 40,000 locations right now, more than 200,000 people serve as members or volunteers across all 50 states and territories.