Nothing from this group surprises me at this point. Now this is acting ‘stupidly’.
As always with ACORN – there’s more to this story. In part II of the video (2:44 min.), Tanja Thompson explains to the couple:
“Normally and I don’t know if this is going to be a problem – To do a tax return with a schedule C is $150. Since you’re trying to start out, I’m only going to charge you $50.”
Problem. ACORN has received millions of dollars in Federal and State funding to perform FREE tax returns for low and moderate income people. In fact, according to ACORN’s own publication, ACORN is the third largest national VITA partner. What is VITA you may ask – The IRS – which issues grants to organizations that offer VITA services – including ACORN.
The ACORN website states:
Free Tax Prep
ACORN is now providing free tax preparation for low and moderate income families in partnership with the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Preparation (VITA) program.
ACORN also has a national agreement with H&R Block utilizing the Nets2Ladders software. Why is this important?
Increasing Participation in Federal/State Benefits Programs – Moving toward maximum eligible participation in federal and state benefits programs is one of ACORN’s key national priorities. ACORN will begin transitioning many of its offices to the Nets2Ladders screening platform (Nets2Ladders is also a key strategic partner with H&R Block). Nets2Ladders offers a powerful, automated benefits enrollment platform that will increase the efficiency and effectiveness of enrolling low-income families in federal and state benefits programs. This software integrates tax return and benefit information so that the information that is collected while filing the tax return is automatically updated into the benefits screening tools, reducing the amount of time needed to add a benefit screening component. Beginning in January
2008, ACORN will conduct benefits screening and enrollment in approximately 26 states, meaning that anyone visiting an ACORN Tax and Benefits Access Center in these states can also quickly be screened for up to 15 federal, state, and local assistance programs, including:
• Food Stamps
• State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)
• Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
• Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
• Child Care
• Local Energy Assistance Programs
• Tuition Assistance Programs
• Investment Development Accounts
• And more…
ACORN’s new screening platform will generate complete applications that are then printed out for clients, saving them countless hours of trouble and heartache and more importantly dramatically increasing their chances for actually qualifying for these important programs. By January 2010, all 50 states will be covered by the ACORN screening and enrollment platform.
So, ACORN is not only assisting people with ripping off the IRS, they are assisting with ripping off a myriad of government programs. By November 2008, the Washington Post was reporting:
Fueled by rising unemployment and food prices, the number of Americans on food stamps is poised to exceed 30 million for the first time this month, surpassing the historic high set in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina.
By March 2009, CNN Money was reporting:
A record 31.8 million Americans received food stamps at the latest count, an increase of 700,000 people in one month with the United States in recession, government figures showed Thursday.
I mention March 2009 as W-2’s are due by January 31st and most tax returns are filed in February of each year. If an onslaught of food stamps requests were made in February, they would show up in the numbers for March.
ACORN assisted with over 32,000 tax returns in 2007 – how many of them do you think were accurate?
Congress – are you paying attention yet??????????
UPDATE – Via Breitbart:
Maryland ACORN board member Margaret Williams says in a statement the employees “did not meet ACORN’s standards of professionalism.”
The statement also says the video was an attempt to smear ACORN and that undercover teams attempted similar stunts at three other ACORN offices.
They have standards?