In 2022, JBAY cosponsored a proposal that established the California Foster Youth Tax Credit, a $21 million ongoing state investment providing a $1,000 refundable tax credit to current and former foster youth.
To promote access to this new credit, JBAY is leading the California Foster Youth Tax Project. In 2023, this project consists of three main strategies:
1) Establishment of IRS-certified Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites, specially equipped to assist current and former foster youth;
2) The California Foster Youth Tax Filing Challenge with participation from 22 counties; and
3) Development and dissemination of a wide range of informational and training resources for various audiences.
Foster Youth Tax Credit
The 2022-23 state budget includes $21 million in ongoing funding to establish the Foster Youth Tax Credit, a refundable tax credit that aims to boost the income of and reduce poverty among current and former foster youth ages 18 through 25 who were in care on or after their 13th birthday. Effective January 1, 2023, eligible youth who file their California state tax return and claim the Foster Youth Tax Credit will receive the credit. The Foster Youth Tax Credit is a program of the California Earned Income Tax Credit, a refundable tax credit funded with $1.1 billion that helps low-income workers and families.
Specialized Tax Assistance Sites
For the 2023 tax season, JBAY is partnering with community-based organizations across California that are establishing and operating IRS-certified Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites specially equipped to assist current and former foster youth with filing their taxes for free.
This strategy is an expansion of previous efforts which assisted 250 youth who collectively received over $600,000 in tax refunds.
California Foster Youth Tax Filing Challenge
In 2022, JBAY launched the California Foster Youth Tax Filing Challenge, a statewide campaign to ensure county child welfare agencies have the resources and information to increase the rate of tax filing among current and former foster youth in their county.
A total of 22 counties are participating in the Challenge for the 2023 tax season, with the goal of conducting targeted outreach to as many current and former foster youth as possible to provide tax filing resources and help them seek filing assistance:
Alameda * Butte * Contra Costa * Del Norte * Fresno * Humboldt * Imperial * Kern * Los Angeles * Napa * Nevada * Orange * Sacramento * San Diego * San Francisco * San Joaquin * San Mateo * Santa Barbara * Santa Clara * Solano * Stanislaus * Yolo
Informational & Training Resources
JBAY has developed informational and training resources for a wide range of stakeholders, including VITA volunteers; county child welfare and probation personnel; community-based providers, caregivers, college campus personnel, and other supportive adults; and youth themselves. These resources are designed to help youth prepare for filing, secure an appointment for assistance or self-file with confidence, learn about the benefits of tax filing, and ensure stakeholders know how to claim the Foster Youth Tax Credit.