READ FULL ARTICLES
March 28, 2013 by Jennifer Brandt
WASHINGTON, March 28, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The 2012 tax return will have major impact for Hispanics, as it can be used in determining eligibility for the Affordable Care Act and immigration reforms will likely require individuals to pay any unpaid taxes. An ongoing project from the Hispanic Access Foundation (HAF), in partnership with H&R Block, the world’s largest consumer tax services provider, is seeking to educate Hispanics about the U.S. tax system and prepare them for upcoming changes.
“Prepárate Para Un Futuro Mejor” (Prepare Yourself for a Better Future) includes more than 150 free “Tax Talk” seminars across the nation. It emphasizes the importance of building an accurate tax history, provides tools to protect against fraud and misinformation in the tax preparation process, and outlines how to meet the demands of the Affordable Care Act and potential immigration rule changes.
“Hispanics need to have their taxes in order so they don’t miss out on potential benefits,” said Maite Arce, president of HAF. “Since the project’s launch in 2010, we have helped tens of thousands of Hispanics with tax issues, and now they are even more vigilant about building an accurate tax history.”
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 2012 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 Affordable Care Act is the health insurance exchange— a marketplace where consumers can shop for a health insurance plan.
As for immigration reform, it is expected that both political parties will support a reconciliation of unpaid taxes as a prerequisite on the path to legal residency or citizenship. While plan details are still being discussed, it will likely require individuals to submit tax documentation for multiple years – an individual will need to provide an accurate tax history as part of the application process.
“With the rapid expansion of the Latino population, it is essential to provide accurate information and access to bilingual tax experts in order to fully integrate Latinos into the tax system,” said Arce. “Our community wants to contribute our fair share. With a better understanding of the process, we can strengthen our families, communities and nation.”
The free “Tax Talk” seminars are scheduled in multiple cities across the country. A complete list of dates and locations is available at www.pormifuturo.org. For more information about HAF visit www.hispanicaccess.org.
Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/03/28/5299568/taxes-key-for-hispanics-on-health.html#storylink=cpy
February 21, 2013 by Jennifer Brandt
By: Maite Arce
For Latinos, the 2012 tax return presents significant opportunity. In fact, the potential impact of key legislative changes for the nation’s fastest growing population is unprecedented.
Starting in 2014, many people — not just Latinos — 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 2012 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 Affordable Care Act is the health insurance exchange — a marketplace where consumers can shop for a health insurance plan.
Latinos are by far the least insured demographic in the nation. For 2011, the U.S. Census estimated that 30.1 of Latinos are uninsured, compared to just 11.1 percent of whites. This lack of coverage is compounded by the fact that Latinos are 165 percent more likely to live in areas where environmental concerns can lead to greater health complications, according to the American Lung Society.
As for immigration reform, it is expected that both political parties will support a reconciliation of unpaid taxes as a prerequisite on the path to citizenship or legal residency. While plan details are still being discussed, it will likely require individuals to submit tax documentation for multiple years — an individual will need to provide an accurate tax history as part of the application process.
Unauthorized Latinos have long been chided for not filing taxes. But what is often overlooked is that state and local taxes paid in 2010 by households headed by unauthorized immigrants totaled $11.2 billion, according to the Institute of Taxation and Economic Policy.
For the majority of Latinos, however, it’s not a question of not wanting to pay taxes (many do!) but rather a lack of understanding, not having an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), concern about immigration status or fear of the process. In fact, many Latinos who we meet have paid into the system for years, but never filed taxes.
In several of the countries from which our Latino immigrants come, the tax system is a wholly different process or not even enforced at all. Others have worked with unskilled tax preparers who miss even the most obvious deductions or those who add fraudulent deductions to inflate returns. Language barriers only exacerbate these issues.
This is why our campaign, “Prepárate Para Un Futuro Mejor (Prepare for a Better Future),” to educate Latinos on the U.S. tax system has been so successful. This tax season we will hold over 150 free tax seminars in coordination with Latino faith leaders as partners within the community and provide access to bilingual tax experts. Since 2010, we’ve provided tax education and information to over 50,000 Latinos. Our emphasis is on the importance of building an accurate tax history and being a good contributor.
By looking at future economic factors, the importance of this education becomes evident. Latino buying power is expected to reach $1.5 trillion in 2015, according to a recent Nielsen report. The U.S. Census estimated that there are more than 2.3 million Latino business owners contributing more than $350 billion to the nation’s economy.
Furthermore, the Latino population is expected to double to 100 million by 2050, and tax contributions will grow along with it. Affordable health care and immigration acceptance may be incentives for Latinos to file taxes, but the benefit will help our nation’s tax income grow and improve the lives of many.
November 9, 2012 by Jennifer Brandt
WASHINGTON – Today, the nonprofit Hispanic Access Foundation (HAF) commended Interior Secretary Ken Salazar for adopting a common-sense plan to protect Colorado’s water from oil shale speculation.
“We needed a smart approach to oil shale development and Secretary Salazar deserves credit for making this a priority for Colorado, and for the state’s Latinos, which make up a significant portion of the state’s population and depend on Colorado River and water supplies for their quality of life and economic opportunity,” said Maite Arce, executive director of HAF. “Costly, water-hungry oil shale speculation would put western families’ health and safety at risk.”
A significant portion of western Latinos supports this sentiment. Released last month, a Latino Decisions poll commissioned by Nuestro Rio showed that 70 percent of those surveyed favor a plan requiring oil companies to complete successful research of oil shale technologies, and its potential impact to western water prior to commercial development on public lands.
The Salazar plan released today would require oil shale companies to conduct successful research and development projects and prove the economic and ecological viability of oil shale prior to commercial leasing.
“The Colorado River doesn’t just run through the southwest; it runs through our culture and it nourishes our lives,” said Andres Ramirez, Director at Nuestro Rio. “Saving the Colorado River is about protecting our Latino heritage and promoting our future.”
Estimates by the Government Accountability Office have projected that full-scale oil shale development could require more than 123 billion gallons of water each year, enough water for more than 750,000 households. Additionally, the mining and processing of oil shale can leach toxic metals and pollutants, such as lead and arsenic, into rivers and groundwater. These concerns have led to other states in the region such as Arizona and Nevada, to take an active interest in the protection of their Colorado River water supplies.
In September, HAF launched an ad campaign with the message “Don’t Let Oil Shale Drain Our Water Away” to educate Latinos about the risk oil shale production could pose to water quality and quantity. For more information about oil shale and the need to protect western water, visit www.safeguardwater.org.
October 16, 2012 by Jennifer Brandt
Teen Driver Safety Week, held from October 14-20, is our turn to return the favor.
During this week, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) encourages parents to teach teens ways that they can be safer drivers.
For Hispanic parents, this event is particularly important, as car crashes are the leading cause of death for Hispanic teens.
Luckily, that’s a statistic you can change. Here are five strategies to help your teen understand the risks of the road and think twice before driving distracted:
1. Set a Good Example: If you’re telling your teen to follow safe driving behaviors, so should you. That means always wearing your seat belt, keeping your cell phone in your glove compartment and avoiding other distractions when you drive.
2. Create and Enforce Driving Rules: Discuss what it means to be a safe driver with your teen and set rules for when they’re behind the wheel. The rules should also have consequences that are enforced. For example, if your daughter drives without a seat belt, she can’t attend her friend’s Quinceañera.
3. Avoid Adding Temptation: Staying in touch with your teen is important, but remember that your call, email or text message can be a distraction. In fact, drivers who use hand-held devices are four times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. Don’t take that risk. Avoid reaching out to your teen when they’re on the road.
4. Learn the Traffic Safety Laws in Your State: Many states have Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws that ban young drivers from using cell phones and texting while driving. Make sure your teen driver understands that violating these laws may mean having a delayed or suspended license.
5. Take a Pledge Together: Print or cut out the pledge form below and have every member of your family commit to driving safe. Sharing and keeping this pledge together is also a great example to set for younger children.
Whatever strategy you take, remember that the educating your teen about driving laws and risks will give them the information they need to be safer on the road.
To learn more, please visit www.distraction.gov.
Jockey Mario Gutierrez will be attempting to win the first Triple Crown since 1978, after winning both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness with horse I’ll Have Another. They’ll be racing on June 9th at Belmont Park.
The Hispanic Access Foundation has recently learned about the men and women who work behind the scenes at Belmont Park. Through a partnership with the Race Track Chaplaincy of New York, we’ve been working to bring these workers tax information through our “Preparate Para un Futuro Mejor,” (Prepare Yourself for a Better Future).
Learn more about these workers with scenes from the backside of the tracks: