HCC accounting students volunteer to help residents with taxes

  • Courtesy photo

    Hawaii Community College students with their Volunteer Income Tax Assistance certifications, from left, Maria Jessica Malicdem, Jorge Cisneros, Kapua Silva, Kylee Kaakimaka Paris, Shereen Tagarino, Siniva Pota (instructor), Alexis Terlep, Philomena Scherling and Dylan Sofia Lee.

Hawaii Community College accounting students applied their classroom learning in the community by volunteering to help residents with tax preparation through a collaboration with Goodwill Industries of Hawaii.

“The best part about the entire experience was just being able to help people complete their returns and seeing the gratitude they show toward you,” said HCC student Dylan Sofia Lee. “It’s incredible. This was definitely the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done in any class.”

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The students who volunteered are enrolled in Accounting 134, a class taught by accounting lecturer Siniva Pota. The class teaches the preparation of federal and Hawaii individual income tax returns with an emphasis on tax law and regulations and their applications to tax returns.

The volunteer experience was an opportunity to promote community giving and servant leadership while giving HCC students real-world experience.

“These students exhibited a remarkable level of professionalism and dedication in preparing quality tax returns that enhance the standard of living for those who may not be able to afford the high cost of tax return preparations,” said Raymond Saludares, assistant director of career services at Goodwill Industries of Hawaii.

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Before volunteering at Goodwill in Hilo, the students earned their tax preparer certifications through the Internal Revenue Service’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. The VITA program focuses on providing high-quality, accurate tax returns for low- to moderate-income families and individuals across the United States at no cost.

The accounting class is offered in the Business Education and Technology Division at Hawaii CC. The division offers associate degrees and certificates in four academic majors: accounting, business technology, information technology and marketing.