Isabel Dickson is the Economic Mobility Specialist at Get Ahead Colorado and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment . They’ve answered some questions below to help librarians around Colorado learn about their organization, agency, and/or services.
Below, you’ll learn about Tax Credit & Rebate Resources and Support from Get Ahead Colorado and their potential to help you serve your community. In addition, at the end of this post we’ve included some of their resources for you to view and/or use.
Video recording for the Virtual Partner Forum with Get Ahead Colorado on Tuesday December 6, 2022 at 11AM is embedded below and can also be found on YouTube.
Tell us who you are and what you do for Get Ahead Colorado and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
Hello! I am Isabel Dickson, I’m the Economic Mobility Specialist at Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). We care deeply about reducing child poverty in our communities. We know the critical role libraries play in connecting community members to news they can use. Our tax credit outreach includes the Get Ahead Colorado campaign and media plan, which seeks to help more Coloradans know they may be eligible for thousands in tax credits and how they can get free tax filing help.
How can Get Ahead Colorado partner with a library to offer resources or programming to the local community of library visitors and users?
It can be fast and simple to refer clients to tax resources. Get Ahead Colorado provides materials and simple training on how to help get the word out, from hanging a flyer with a QR code to giving more detailed information and support. You don’t have to know anything about taxes to help your patrons get their refunds.
What needs or challenges can Get Ahead Colorado help libraries address for their communities?
The cost of living is continuing to rise in Colorado, and many community members are struggling to meet basic needs. Tax credits can mean money back in people’s pockets, even if they don’t earn enough to owe tax and don’t usually file. Get Ahead Colorado supports libraries to connect community members to free tax filing information at any level of engagement, even if the library doesn’t have much capacity.
What regions – cities, counties, areas – of Colorado does your organization reach?
Statewide. We also partner with Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites across the state.
Do the services or resources from Get Ahead Colorado cost any money?
No, unless a library decides to commit staff time to expanding this service.
Do libraries have to provide any funds or apply to any grants to work with Get Ahead Colorado?
No, they do not. We have had some additional funding available to support partners in the work and may have more if libraries have a need.
Do libraries have to provide any staff, volunteers, or training in order to run your programs or provide resources or services with Get Ahead Colorado?
No, they do not, beyond simple introductory training such as the one coming up on December 6th. If a library chose to pilot providing more intensive services related to tax outreach and filing, we can support that, and it could involve additional training. Hanging a flyer with a QR code is a simple start. If a library decides to host more intensive tax support, they can choose to do so during the 2-3 months of tax season only, which limits the impact on staff capacity and makes it easier.
Libraries can help people file their taxes and get tax credits by doing any of the following – all of which Get Ahead Colorado can help support and provide resources for:
- Post and/or distribute flyers about tax credits and free tax filing assistance
- Add a tax filing widget to your website
- Share information on opportunities for members of your community to become IRS certified tax volunteers
- Attend a brief training to understand what tax credits are, who is eligible, and how to refer your clients/community members to free tax filing resources
- If you already provide computers for community/client use, designate one or more computer stations for “Do It Yourself” tax filing. Free tax filing software can be provided to you.
- Assist clients/community members at your location in using free tax filing software (not with actual tax filing – no tax background needed)
- Provide space for IRS-certified volunteers to assist community members with free tax filing (could be a one-time event or multiple)
- Apply for your organization to become an IRS-certified tax preparation site and include tax assistance in your programming all through tax season (no tax background needed)
- Host AmeriCorps members to work with your organization on tax outreach and tax filing assistance
What support can you offer libraries to help them access additional resources or funding to bring Get Ahead Colorado to their library?
We can offer printed materials, very short trainings, longer trainings to support staff in feeling comfortable having more detailed tax referral conversations, and we can support hosting IRS-trained tax volunteers in library settings. Some libraries are already doing this and are experts in best practices for becoming a free tax filing site. We are also learning more about resources boxes for libraries, and if that could be an option, we could provide in partnership with the state library system. Hosting tax volunteers can be for just a few hours a week during tax season.
Let’s say one of our librarians, directors, or staff contact you and says, “We want to bring Get Ahead Colorado to our community!” What will the next step look like?
Probably a short meeting to understand what level of engagement the library envisions, and what would be most helpful.
You will be attending a Virtual Partner Forum with the Colorado State Library and Get Ahead Colorado where you can answer questions directly from Colorado libraries who are able to attend. How else can people reach you?
Email anytime at email@example.com.
If you could not attend our Virtual Partner Forum on December 6, 2022 at 11AM please view the video from the event below or feel free to email me – Cristy Moran, Adult Library Services Senior Consultant at the Colorado State Library – at firstname.lastname@example.org or Isabel Dickson directly at the contact information listed in the interview above.
Attachments in this post include:
- Tax Credit Outreach in Colorado Fact Sheet updated 9.25.22
- Get Ahead CO_2023 CO Libraries Flyer_ENG
- Get Ahead CO_2023 CO Libraries Flyer_ESP
- CO State Library Forum 12.6.22
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