Monday, March 1, 2010


Toni Tsusaki is a retiree who refuses to allow her work skills to deteriorate. She ran across a program sponsored by the Aloha United Way, Leeward Community College, among other organizations, called Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA). VITA offers free tax preparation to the aged and low to moderate income citizens who vitally need this help. Our tax system is so complicated that the average American will not attempt to prepare his/her own tax returns.

Toni found out about this program a little over a year ago through the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement and is in her second year as a volunteer. Although she’s fairly new to the program, she enjoys the time she spends preparing tax returns because she recognizes that it’s a service she can provide to others.

Toni has found that VITA not only helps her to stay current with the tax laws, but more importantly, it gives her an opportunity to meet people.

All volunteers must to go through training each year to be certified to prepare tax returns. Professor Roy Kamida, who’s a CPA, runs the program at Leeward Community College and assists in the certification process. He also is responsible for all tax returns submitted.

Free tax returns are prepared every Saturday from 9 AM to noon and every Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:30 to 5:00 PM at Leeward Community College. The last weekday preparation will be Thursday March 18 and the final Saturday will be on March 27, 2010. These services are only for simple returns without rental income, business income and other complications.

Toni has been retired from Hawaiian Dredging for 7 years now, where she worked in employee benefits administration. With a young grandson who takes up much of her time, VITA volunteer work allows her to spend most of her time being a Tutu and yet fulfill her desire to help people in her community.

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