ASCC Business students assist public with tax filing
For the seventh year and counting, members of the public needing assistance with their tax filing are welcome to consult with the Business students from the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) who on most weekdays can be found staffing a table outside the Tax Office between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.
“Our participating students have received training on the general requirements and rules associated with filing local taxes,” said ASCC Business instructor Mr. Ioapo Taua’i. “In addition, they’ve gone through the complete process on how to complete the different tax forms required in filing local taxes.”
Most of the students participating in the tax assistance program are currently enrolled in Taua’i’s class Payroll and Income Taxes (ACC152A). Others are Business majors who have already completed the Payroll and Income Taxes course. “The course is about income taxes,” Taua’I explained. “Having the opportunity to calculate real work taxes for real people is the ultimate goal of the course. These students’ participation indicate they can apply the skills taught in the classroom. The experience will also give them an advantage when applying for jobs involving taxes.”
To complement classroom theory with the specific guidelines of the local tax collection operation, 16 of this year’s participating students also underwent a two-day training conducted by Ms. Maryann Olo, Revenue Agent 4 and Mr. Richard Jimmerson, Revenue Agent 5, of the local Tax Office. Between now and the end of tax season, each student will spend a minimum of 40 hours assisting the public to fulfill the course requirements.
Students arrange their working hours at the Tax Office according to their class schedules, and Taua’i or other faculty from the Business Department make frequent visits to the work site to monitor their progress. As part of the grading process, the Tax Office submits a job performance evaluation for every student upon completion of their 40 hours, and traditionally, at the conclusion of the year’s tax collection period the Tax Office has also awarded each participating student a Certificate of Appreciation.
“We feel fortunate that our students have this valuable opportunity to gain real insight into the local tax process by working with the public,” reflected Taua’i. “I also think that our continued participation for seven years speaks for itself as far as the quality of the service we provide the public free of charge. The students even cover their own transportation costs between our campus in Mapusaga and the Tax Office in Utulei, which shows how much it means to them to serve their community.”
Students participating in the income tax filing project include Miranda Galo, Annie Fiatoa, Ester Iosefa, Irae Vine, Vaipuna O’Brien, Siana Aupa’au, Sia’ana Lam Yuen, Theresa Togia, Michelle Stark, Tala Lewis, May Siaosi, Si’itupe Paul Peko, Lydia Fatutoa, Vaosa Leifi and Irae Fuimaono. Anyone with questions on the tax assistance services provided by the ASCC Business majors can contact Taua’i at 699-9155, extension 382.