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Tax Day: Good News for Poor People?
Zacchaeus is the wealthy tax collector in Luke 19 who climbs down the tree to welcome Jesus into his home. That meeting changed Zacchaeus’ life; he had been part of an oppressive tax system that enriched itself at the expense of others. But after encountering Jesus, Zacchaeus sang a different tune: “Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much” (Luke 19:1-9).
When the tax system meets Jesus, good things happen for poor people.
As we approach the April 15 deadline for filing our taxes, it’s a good time to think about how our tax system works and how it can benefit poor people. To help with that, Bread is encouraging churches to observe Sunday, April 11, or Wednesday, April 14, as “Tax Day.” We have a variety of resources to help you and your congregation in that effort:
- A litany that “prays through” many lines on the 1040 form. (PDF)
- A sermon/study resource that examines Zacchaeus’ story and connects it to our own tax filing and Bread’s 2010 Offering of Letters. (PDF)
- A Tax Day insert for your bulletin. (PDF)
- A list of activities for study, discussion, and community engagement. (PDF)
- A simple message you can share by phone with members of Congress.
Observing “Tax Day” is also great preparation for Bread’s 2010 Offering of Letters, which seeks changes in tax policies that address the growing poverty in the United States. Specifically, Bread is urging Congress to protect and strengthen the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit. These tax credits are critical to helping families make ends meet, but they will expire this year.
Please contact your member of Congress and urge him or her to adopt changes to U.S. tax policy that increase the resources low-income families have to meet their basic needs, including food.
Join us in calling for tax policies that bring good news to poor people in your community.
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