WELCH, W.Va. – The Council of the Southern Mountains, the first and oldest community action agency in West Virginia, was recently recognized by the Internal Revenue Service during an awards ceremony conducted online.

The IRS recognition webinar related that more than 50 volunteers completed tax returns across eight (8) southern West Virginia preparation sites. 3,021 tax returns were filed with over $ 5 million in tax refunds. Of that amount, more than $1.5 million was for the Earned Income Tax Credit.

The Council staff alone electronically filed 660 returns, being the third largest single filing site in the State. This serves as a new internal record for the number of prepared taxes and the amount of refunds also hit a new high.

This year alone CSM staff brought back to the local economy $1,377,524.00 in tax refunds, $542,830 for the Earned Income Tax Credit and $336,011 for the Child Care Tax Credit. This service is free of charge to those that are income qualified, generally less than $66,000 annually.

CSM staff person Regina Sanders was recognized during the internet ceremony for her stellar performance of individually preparing 364 returns, the most in the southern West Virginia coalition.

She was presented with several gifts for her service. CSM staffers Latonia Foster and Mary Reed were also recognized for outstanding service and presented with awards. These positions are funded through the Community Services Block Grant program and staff have taken on this most beneficial service for the people the agency is mandated to serve. According to investopedia.com, the average cost to prepare and submit a federal Form 1040 and state return with no itemized deductions is $176. Based on this average, the Council of the Southern Mountains saved local residents over $116,000 in preparation fees.

Council staff takes training through the IRS and must pass a rigorous test in order to be then certified and qualified to prepare all but the most complicated returns.
Staff also files the returns electronically and can have the refund, if that is the consumer’s choice, deposited into the person’s bank account. This procedure is just as fast as any paid service. No fees are charged and all of their rightful refunds are deposited into their bank accounts or with a paper check from the IRS.

The Community Services Block Grant staff of the Council provides vital community services and strives to “Bring Opportunities Within Reach” for area residents. For more information, contact the Council at 304-436-6800.

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