Filing taxes is never easy for anyone. People have differing levels of challenges with it and some get so overwhelmed that they avoid it altogether. Last year though, the Office for the Belmont Aging Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program in Belmont aided 549 Allegany County seniors file their 2018 taxes. The savings amount was huge – a staggering $250,000 in refunds. Credit on this was given to the efforts of Tax Leader and Instructor Bryan Caldwell as well as a whole slew of tax counselors who went above and beyond to provide this assistance.
Between February 8 and April 15, the Belmont Crossroads Center was open from 8.30am to 3pm for free appointments at Wellsville YMCA and the Bolivar Luncheon Center.
The IRS reviewed the program twice this year for Quality Site Requirements and Volunteer Standards of Conduct. The Volunteers and program received a score of 100%, meeting all the requirements. The IRS noted that there was not a single rejected return and production was up over 22%. They also commented on the fact that the quality of the program was unmatched and all Volunteers took extra time to explain all the paperwork to the taxpayers they assisted.
This program is offered in conjunction with the Internal Revenue Service and AARP. In preparation for the tax year, Mr. Caldwell attends a two day training offered by AARP, the Internal Revenue Service, and the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance. He then provides six days of training to OFA Tax Counselors in January. All Tax Counselors are required to pass tests on Standards of Conduct, Intake/Interview and Quality Review, and Advanced Tax Certification Levels.