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November 18, 2013 by Jennifer Brandt
FromVoxxi.com By Susana G. Baumann
While most Americans are talking about the viability of the new Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, not many understand the tax implications that this new law might have on their next year’s tax returns.
As the most important amend to the federal tax code in the last 20 years, the ACA will determine healthcare benefits and credits eligibility through individual, family and business tax returns. Then, an accurate tax return submission as well as a good tax history can be decisive for many families and businesses that rely on these benefits.
“A tax return is a very important tool for Latinos, regardless of their immigration status. Understanding and filling out a correct tax return each year can determine the possibility of finding a job, buying a house or going to school. It can also mean eligibility for immigration status and now, healthcare benefits,” said Maite Arce, president of Hispanic Access Foundation (HAF).
Through a strategic partnership with H&R Block –the largest source for tax preparation and online tax services–, the organization has concentrated its efforts in providing access to such vital information, now in 17 communities around the country.
High rates of uninsured among Latinos.
According to Arce, Latinos have higher rates of uninsured people than any other minority group in the country. Nearly one in three Hispanics lack health coverage –compared to one in five non-Hispanic Blacks and one in eight Non-Hispanic Whites, says a report from the National Council of La Raza (NCLR).
“Many Latinos feel they don’t know the basics, not only of how a tax return works, but also how the Affordable Care Act might affect their eligibility for tax credits and for fines –in case they decide not to apply for the benefits this year,” she said.
To fix that problem, HAF has partnered this fall on one hand with national non-profits approved as ACA navigators to help families, individuals and businesses apply for the new healthcare benefit. On the other, HAF provides information on both tax implications through a number of workshops conducted around the country.
“Over 30,000 individuals have gone through our workshops to try understanding how tax returns will work for them,” she said.
HAF is now offering these services in 17 communities around the country including Chicago, IL; Dallas, TX; Ft. Worth, TX; Denver, CO; Houston, TX; Los Angeles, CA; Orange County, CA; Boston, MA; Miami/Broward County, FL; New York City Metro; Hudson County, NJ; Providence, RI; McAllen/Brownsville, TX; Phoenix, AZ; Riverside, CA; San Bernardino, CA; and Washington, DC.
Information of Obamacare tax implications for families and individuals
The tax professionals at H&R Block have prepared some common case scenarios with families and individuals at different income levels to help understand the tax implications for each one.
The case scenarios describe uninsured couples with children, couples insured through employment without coverage for their children, couples without children and single people. According to their income level, some people might be eligible for the new expansion of Medicaid also provided through the ACA. So far, 25 states and the District of Columbia have expanded Medicaid, and are accepting applications through their state websites.
The scenarios also describe the type of fines those who decide not to ascribe to the benefits will have to pay. Those fines would be included in their tax calculations next year.
If families or individuals’ income change during the year, it is advisable that they communicate their new situation to the IRS as soon as possible. Income variations might determine differences in tax credit eligibility –in receiving more or less tax credit. Those adjustments will be applied to the amount of taxes they owe or to their refund.
Obamacare and the undocumented
“Although undocumented Hispanics cannot have coverage under the new ACA, they can call our helpline to find out other resources in their communities that provide basic healthcare services,” Arce said.
The HAF president said that the first barrier for the Spanish-speaking population to access services is lack of knowledge of resources in their own communities. The second barrier is trusting the resources that provide the information and the service.
“We work with faith-based organizations that Latinos trust, as pastors and clergy act as third-party credibility,” Arce said. “Latino families are very interested in receiving Affordable Care Act information but there are still delays in understanding the information fully. It will be a slow process for this community,” she anticipates.
A complete list of workshop dates and locations is available at www.pormifuturo.org. For more information, those interested can call their helpline at 800-206-9096.
October 16, 2013 by Jennifer Brandt
NATHROP, COLO. – Today, prominent Latino religious leaders from Colorado and California joined together to form Por la Creación Faith-based Alliance, which will develop stewards of God’s creations by engaging and educating this generation to leave a legacy for the future. This group seeks to educate other Hispanics and to encourage them to take an active role in supporting the nation’s public lands and protecting our natural resources across the West.
“Pastors can bring common-sense and spiritual guidance to the national discussion about the value of our parks and public lands, and other environmental issues affecting Latinos across the West,” said Maite Arce, president of the nonprofit Hispanic Access Foundation (HAF), which helped organize the group. “Their leadership will be instrumental in sparking change that preserves our natural treasures for future generations — bringing balance and fairness to how our nation views conservation in relation to energy development.”
HAF brought the religious leaders together as part of the inaugural summit “Exploring Stewardship in Protecting and Preserving the Environment.” The summit was held in Nathrop, Colo. for three days, and included fly-fishing in Colorado’s famed Browns Canyon on the Arkansas River. The organization believes this new alliance will encourage more religious leaders to speak up for conservation, especially in communities that are on the front lines of energy development.
“We need energy development for our nation’s energy independence,” said Pastor Joseito Velasquez from Healing Waters Family Center in Denver, Colo. “But we also need to protect wildlife and other aspects of God’s creation in our public lands. We can do both.”
Pastor Velasquez was joined in the Alliance formation by Pastor Rigo Magaña from New Hope Christian Fellowship in Greeley, Colo., Pastors Frank Ruiz from Seventh Day Adventist Church in Indio, Calif., and Jesse Villarreal from Templo La Hermosa and Enrique Orellana from Fuente De Vida Christian Center in Coachella, Calif.
At the summit in Colorado, the group identified environmental issues from each home state that are of concern. In Colorado, the group would like to see Browns Canyon’s public lands and waters protected as a National Monument. Similarly, the Alliance would like National Monument designation to be granted for Organ Mountains – Desert Peaks in New Mexico. For California, the collective is paying special attention to the California Desert Protection Act, which would establish two new national monuments, enhance the existing national parks and ensure renewable energy development happens in appropriate public and private lands, and other environmental issues in the Coachella. Additionally, the alliance will explore the need for adequate funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund to protect national parks, and enable communities to build new playgrounds and local parks.
Following the summit, the pastors will return to their communities to educate, engage and empower other religious leaders and community members in advocating for the conservation of God’s creation.
Latino Youth Hike Gila River to Learn Firsthand Why Preservation Is Needed Group will testify today on protecting Gila before State Senate Committee
October 14, 2013 by Jennifer Brandt
WASHINGTON – As the group of 25 Latino youth from Las Cruces stood before the recently washed out trail they traveled three hours to hike, the group took a vote on whether to proceed or turn back. Unanimously, the Santa Rosa de Lima Church youth group chose to continue their journey to the Gila River — New Mexico’s last free flowing river — and learn more about the threats it faces from the proposal to divert its water.
The 25 Latino youth, aged 14 to 19, spent the first weekend of October camping in the Gila National Forest and taking part in a six-hour hike along the West Fork of the Gila River. Hispanic Access Foundation (HAF), a national nonprofit working to expose more Latinos to the nation’s public lands and emphasize through experience the importance of preserving it for future generations, sponsored the trip.
“These kids are vocal champions for the outdoors,” said Maite Arce, president HAF. “This weekend was about showing them the beauty of the Gila River and its surroundings. With their personal experience, they are eager to make a difference for the Gila – they are inspired to fight for its protection so that other young people will be able to enjoy it in the future.”
In fact, the youth group will testify today before the State Senate Water and Natural Resources Committee regarding the proposed Gila River Diversion Project, which would not only cost taxpayers approximately $200 million, but it would also end the Gila’s status as the last free flowing river in New Mexico.
“Having the opportunity to learn about the Gila River and what it offers to its ecosystem is incredible,” said Paola Rivera, 17, a member of A.T.O.M.I.C. Youth Group from Santa Rosa de Lima Church. “If they were to make a diversion in the river it can affect the things around it greatly. There are animals, plants, trees, and insects that need the river…making a diversion could help at moments, but in the long run it wouldn’t have been worth it.”
The thoughts and opinions of this youth group on the Gila River echo that of the state as a whole. A recent poll from Republican firm Public Opinion Strategies found that 81 percent of New Mexicans are concerned about water levels in the state’s rivers and 72 percent were concerned about river health in general.
“My experience coming to the Gila River was life-changing,” said Amanda Aguirre, 15, another member of A.T.O.M.I.C. “I think it is important that we do everything we can do keep this river flowing. Why are you going to destroy something so beautiful?”
A brief video story of the trip is also available for viewing on YouTube at http://youtu.be/rxlxEJUQSSY.
September 23, 2013 by fangerpr
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is the single biggest change to the federal tax code in more than 20 years. An accurate tax history can be key to determining eligibility for health care benefits. Therefore it’s critical to individuals to learn about the Affordable Care Act and how it may affect them, their families and their tax situation.
To help educate Latinos about the U.S. tax system, Hispanic Access Foundation (HAF), in partnership with H&R Block, the world’s largest consumer tax services provider, is expanding its free tax workshops program to 17 markets across the nation.
“Prepárate Para Un Futuro Mejor” (Prepare Yourself for a Better Future) includes more than 100 workshops and emphasizes the importance of one’s taxes, understanding residency and dependents requirements and how to protect against fraud. The program will include information on the tax implications of the Affordable Care Act.
“Hispanics have the highest uninsured rates of any racial or ethnic group in the country,” said Maite Arce, president of HAF. “The first step for everyone is to make sure your taxes are in order. For Hispanics, though, we need to provide accurate information and access to bilingual tax experts in order to fully integrate them into the tax system.”
Starting in 2014, many people who do not have health insurance may be able to receive a subsidy based on their household income and family size to help with the cost. Eligibility for assistance can be determined from an individual’s tax return, which can also streamline the insurance plan enrollment process with a health insurance exchange. With the individual mandate requiring nearly everyone to have health insurance in 2014, a key component of the Affordable Care Act is the health insurance exchange — a marketplace where consumers can shop for a health insurance plan.
“Since the project’s launch in 2010, we have helped tens of thousands of Latinos with tax issues, and now they are even more vigilant about building an accurate tax history,” said Arce. “For many, it’s never been a question of not wanting to pay taxes, but rather a lack of understanding and fear of the process.”
About H&R Block
H&R Block, Inc. (NYSE: HRB) is the world’s largest consumer tax services provider. More than 600 million tax returns have been prepared worldwide by and through H&R Block since 1955. In fiscal 2013, H&R Block had annual revenues of $2.9 billion with 25.4 million tax returns prepared worldwide. Tax return preparation services are provided in company-owned and franchise retail tax offices by over 80,000 professional tax preparers, and through H&R Block At Home™ digital products. H&R Block Bank provides affordable banking products and services. For more information, visit the H&R Block Newsroom.
July 22, 2013 by Jennifer Brandt
WASHINGTON, July 22, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Of all the cancers, breast cancer is the primary killer of Latino women in the U.S., while colorectal cancer is the second most common among men and women. Yet, survival rates improve dramatically with early detection, which is why the Hispanic Access Foundation (HAF) has launched a four-market campaign to educate Hispanics about the prevention and early detection of breast and colorectal cancers.
“Poor health outcomes, unfortunately, are a common reality in the Hispanic community,” said Maite Arce, president of HAF. “Whether it’s the lack of having a primary doctor or access to health care in general, through education we can empower Latinos to become advocates for their health.”
Titled “Together We Can Defeat Cancer” and funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the effort will include dozens of free educational workshops, a PSA campaign and toll-free helpline to connect Hispanics to the resources they need. The campaign focuses on Latinos in New York, Rio Grande Valley, Houston, and Miami.
The main purpose is to emphasize that women over 40 years of age should be screened for breast cancer regularly, while both men and women over the age of 50 should be screened for colorectal cancer. Not all screenings are cost prohibitive and in some cases even the uninsured can receive screenings, but early detection leads to improved survival rates for most everyone.
“With the Hispanic population projected to nearly double by 2050, the immediate need to address the knowledge and behaviors within this community is paramount,” said Anita McFarlane, MPH, Director of Grants and Public Policy at the Greater New York City Affiliate of Susan G. Komen. “This project will help us increase the understanding of preventive health care within the Hispanic community and put them on the path to greater health outcomes.”
HAF prides itself on its ability as a connector that helps remove barriers and link Hispanics to existing resources. Throughout this project, HAF will be collaborating with several local partners that offer expertise and services, which helps avoid a duplication of efforts and strengthen the overall outreach.
Key partners in this initiative include the Greater New York City Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the New York Hospital Queens, University of Texas School of Public Health, Miami-Dade Area Health Education Center, lay health educators and other nonprofit organizations. For a list of dates and locations of workshops or for more information regarding early detection and this campaign, visit www.hispanicaccess.org.
About Hispanic Access Foundation Hispanic Access Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that works to promote responsible citizenship, educational attainment, and active engagement in the improvement of the health, environment, and financial well-being of Hispanic families throughout the United States. Working with and through strategic partnerships with faith and community organizations, HAF is dedicated to providing greater access to vital information and community resources to the U.S. Hispanic population to improve health and quality of life. For more information visit www.hispanicaccess.org.
Read more here: http://www.heraldonline.com/2013/07/22/5041316/cdc-funded-effort-educates-hispanics.html#storylink=cpy