Help is available during tax preparation season | News

CLARKSBURG — Tax season has arrived, and help is available for those who need it.

The filing season for individual taxpayers opened on Jan. 27. The deadline for both filing tax returns and paying any tax that is owed is April 15.

“We encourage taxpayers to plan ahead and use the tools and information available on The IRS and the nation’s tax community are committed to making this another smooth filing season,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig in a statement. “The IRS encourages everyone to consider filing electronically and choosing direct deposit. … It’s fast, accurate and the best way to get your refund as quickly as possible.”

The IRS encourages people to avoid “ghost tax return preparers,” or those who do not sign the tax returns they prepare.

The agency also released a new tax form — Form 1040-SR — specifically for seniors born before Jan. 2, 1955. The form, which features larger print and a standard deduction form, is intended to make it easier for seniors to read and use.

Seniors may use the form whether they are working, unemployed or retired, according to an IRS news release.

Free help for basic tax returns is available to low- and moderate-income people who need it in Harrison and Lewis counties through Central West Virginia Community Action.

The service is offered through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, which generally serves people making $56,000 or less, according to the Internal Revenue Service website.

Appointments are filling up fast, so anyone hoping to use the service is encouraged to call as soon as possible, said Lesley Slaughter of Central West Virginia Community Action.

Those using the service will bring in their information to be uploaded and sent to an off-site preparer. Once that is complete, the filer will then return to the office to review and e-file, she said.

The appointments begin this week. The service runs through April 9 at the Central West Virginia Community Action offices at 4 Brown Ave. in Weston and 445 West Main St. in Clarksburg.

Off-site locations will be offered on select days. Those are: Feb. 5 at the library in Shinnston, March 4 at the Lost Creek library and April 1 at the old city building in Salem for Harrison County, and Feb. 19 at the Lewis County Department of Health and Human Resources office and March 18 at Lewis County Family Resource Network in Lewis County, Slaughter said.

Appointments will run through April 9, she said.

Those who use the service also are encouraged to participate in financial management activities like budget exercises, according to a press release.

Anyone wishing to use the service can call to find out if they are eligible, as well as to make an appointment. The number is 304-622-8495. For Harrison County, dial extension 210. For Lewis County, dial Extension 112.

Staff Writer JoAnn Snoderly can be reached at 304-626-1445, by email at or on Twitter at @JoAnnNCWV.