Lehigh Community Services and the United Way House at 201 Plaza Drive in Lehigh Acres have been named "Top Performers" for the most tax returns processed and the most money returned to clients in Lehigh. It was part of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.
Honored in late April were Rae Nicely, executive director of Lehigh Community Services, which also houses the United Way of Lee County in Lehigh, and Mary Meador, the volunteer who did tax returns in Lehigh for residents making less than $50,000 and for free.
The Lehigh office processed 320 tax returns and had more than $634,000 returned to Lehigh clients.
Rae Nicely, executive director of Lehigh Community Services, which also houses the United Way, is shown with Jay Fanning, an IRS agent. Nicely was honored on behalf of her agency.
"That's a big help to our local community," Nicely said.
Mary Meador and Rae Nicely were both given recognition certificates for their efforts at the recent awards banquet at the United Way House in Fort Myers put on by VITA, as an appreciation event.
Meador, a math teacher at Gateway Charter School, who volunteered her time on Wednesday and Friday nights from 4 to 8 p.m. and all day on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., was presented an award by VITA and the United Way of Lee County President Cliff Smith.
Nicely said Meador filed the returns electronically and also did some paper returns for residents.
Meador's and volunteers began on January 30 and finished late in the evening on Monday, April 15, tax day.
At the dinner put on by VITA, it was noted that in Lee County, total paper returns - 151 - netted $170,828 in refunds. Total e-filed returns were 1,465 and netted $2,473,881 in tax refunds. Total "My Free Taxes" returns 482 of them - brought in $578,400 in refunds.
Total returns processed free county-wide were 1,616 with a total refund amount of $3,223,109.
All of this was done by 83 volunteer representing some 1,050 plus volunteer hours, said Louise Hawthorne, United Way's spokeswoman.
In addition to Cliff Smith, president of the United Way, also at the dinner banquet were Jay Fanning and Ron Albert of the Internal Revenue Service.