More money for more families in need
Comity CEO Gerad Hanono spent many years preparing tax returns as a volunteer in the IRS' Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. At the center where Gerad volunteered, the preparers helped their clients claim about $500,000 in tax credits and overpaid income tax each week.
Each year, the IRS offers prizes for VITA clients if they commit to put some portion of their tax return into a savings account. However, few clients ever took the prizes. Each year, the community came with their tax credits already promised to creditors, utilities, auto repairs, back rent, or some new shoes for a quickly-growing child. It was clear: once-per-year cash benefits are misaligned to the needs of working people.
VITA was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so Gerad couldn't see his clients. Instead, he and his co-founder Alex Favaro set to work on modernizing America's safety net, starting with unlocking the tax return to provide a Guaranteed Income for working people.