The purpose of the FDIC Survey of Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Providers is to better understand potential opportunities to help unbanked clients of VITA sites open bank or credit union accounts to direct deposit their tax refunds. Unbanked clients are more likely to forgo portions of their refunds in order to pay check cashing fees and to experience lost, stolen, or delayed refunds. As a result, unbanked clients face an effectively higher tax rate because of their lack of access to direct deposit compared with their otherwise similar banked counterparts.
The survey was fielded from May 15 to June 23, 2023. Of the 487 VITA sites that were invited to participate, 348 responded (71 percent response rate), of which approximately 100 had a partnership with a bank or credit union in the 2023 tax season. The survey response benefited greatly from partnership and collaboration between the FDIC and the Stakeholder Partnerships, Education and Communication Office of the Internal Revenue Service.
An FDIC report of survey findings will be published in the first half of 2024.