People standing and smiling
Hawaiʻi CC accounting students volunteered at a Goodwill Industries of Hawaiʻi Saturday Tax Clinic.

Students at Hawaiʻi Community College applied their classroom learning by volunteering to help residents with tax preparation through a collaboration with Goodwill Industries of Hawaiʻi.

“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 Hawaiʻi CC student Dylan Sofia Lee. “It’s incredible. This was definitely the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done in any class.”

The students who volunteered are enrolled in Accounting 134, a course taught by lecturer Siniva Pota. The class covers the preparation of federal and State of Hawaiʻi 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 giving to the community and servant leadership while giving Hawaiʻi CC 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 Hawaiʻi.

Prior to volunteering at Goodwill in Hilo, the students earned their tax preparer certifications through the Internal Revenue Services Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program. The VITA program focuses on providing high-quality, accurate tax returns for low- to moderate-income families and individuals across the nation at no cost.

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

—By Thatcher Moats

People holding certificates and smiling
Hawaiʻi CC accounting students earn their Volunteer Income Tax certificates