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Asian Americans Advancing Justice Los Angeles

Tax education material design

Accounting & Finance

Project details

Target skills

  • Financial analysis
  • Accounting
  • CPA

Project need

We are looking to engage a skilled CPA/accountant to develop tax-related content for educational outreach materials for low-wage Asian American nail salon workers, many of whom are also limited English proficient. The materials will touch on tax implications for these workers and their households if they are paid "over the table" with a fair hourly wage, rather than continuing to participate in the "under the table" commission-based system that many of them currently feel is the only option for them to earn a living in the nail salon industry.

Specifically, we hope that our volunteer can assist in outlining child- and family-related tax credits, earned income tax credit, and any other credits that are available to low-income households. We essentially would like to chart the pros and cons of existing pay structures for a typical nail salon worker and convince them that being paid over the table is best. In order words, what are the pros of being paid "over the table" and fully reporting all taxes? By taking advantage of various available tax credits, can a nail salon worker still take home the same amount of pay as they would in the "under the table"/commission-based model? Asian Americans Advancing Justice-LA is strongly committed to nail salon industry reform and we need to conduct effective educational outreach directly to the workers themselves in order to do so. In California, some 80% of the nail salon industry workforce is of Vietnamese immigrant heritage, and mostly female. Significant anecdotal evidence suggests widespread wage theft and other workplace violations, creating an oppressively low-wage industry similar to the garment manufacturing, car wash, and hotel-keeping industries. Advancing Justice-LA believes that reforming this industry will require utilizing an array of tools, from lawsuits to legislative advocacy to research to community education. As part of this work, we need the expertise of a trained CPA/accountant to develop the tax-related content for these materials. This work product will eventually be used to reach and educate immigrant nail salon workers directly, in hopes to inspiring them to demand a fair living wage rather than continuing to participate in the commission-based system that currently exists. We have a starting point already, which is a spreadsheet listing tax credits that we have researched (without an accountant's input/review) and believe would apply to a typical nail salon worker's family. The spreadsheet also contains tax calculations for specific income ranges (including whether the entire income or only a portion is reported) and household sizes to provide concrete examples.

We have also developed other community outreach materials that outline the differences between an over the table pay structure and an under the table commission-based structure. We have additionally interviewed workers and collected data/anecdotes from workers themselves regarding their existing pay inequities. We have been doing advocacy work in the nail salon industry for several years already. (See., e.g., information regarding a recent lawsuit filed here: https://advancingjustice-la.org/media-and-publications/press-releases/vietnamese-nail-salon-workers-sue-challenge-exploitative-labor#.XNMQPs9KjBI)

So far, our staff have been working with a combination of interns and other volunteers to supplement their own work in this area.

Organization's mission

Advancing Justice Los Angeles is the nation's largest legal aid and civil rights organization dedicated to Asian American & Pacific Islander communities of Southern California. We serve all nationalities & ethnic groups through legal services, policy advocacy and research, impact litigation, and youth and parent leadership development.

Step 1: Apply

Send the below info, and if interested, the nonprofit will select a time for a phone interview. You'll get a confirmation with everything you need to know.

More questions? Check out our FAQ

Step 2: Interview

You'll have a 30 minute call to discuss the scope and deliverables of the project directly with Asian Americans Advancing Justice Los Angeles, and for them to confirm you're a good fit.

Step 3: Start

Once accepted, you'll be able to get right to work. We will check in with you periodically to make sure you have everything you need.