Complex tax laws and complicated forms present a challenge for many people each year when income tax filings are due. The Internal Revenue Service understands that some people may not be able to pay a tax preparer, especially in these challenging times. That’s where the IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program can help. Established more than 50 years ago, the program offers free basic tax preparation help to:
- People who generally make $57,000 or less;
- Persons with disabilities; and
- Limited English-speaking taxpayers.
All VITA volunteers who prepare returns are trained in tax laws, privacy, and confidentiality. They must also meet or exceed IRS standards to be certified in tax preparation. In addition, the IRS requires that every return prepared by a VITA volunteer undergo a quality review check prior to filing.
Hawaii FCU will continue to offer the services of its VITA volunteers to those in the community who qualify, even as the IRS reports that many VITA sites will be closed or not operating at full capacity this year.
“We have always been committed to serving our community,” said Steve Goo, Hawaii FCU President and CEO. “As we do our part to rebuild the state’s economy, we must also ensure assistance is provided to those in our community who are often overlooked and underserved.”
Appointments are being scheduled for February 01, 2022, through April 08, 2022. To schedule an appointment and obtain a list of documents to bring with you, please call Hawaii FCU at (808) 441-4285.
Fraudsters are growing more sophisticated and perfecting their skills with each passing day. And now that shopping, dining out and travel are dramatically rising, they’re also ramping up their game. Anyone can become a victim. However, if you just practice a few basic “smart habits,” you can protect yourself, reduce your potential for fraud losses and keep fraudsters away.
Charity and Travel Scams
- If someone is pressuring you into making a donation “now” – don’t do it! It’s a fraudster. Never send donations in the form of gift cards or wire transfers.
- Beware of travel deals that are too good to be true. Be sure it’s a legitimate travel business.
Two-Factor Authentication Scams
- Never reveal these codes to someone over the phone. Fraudsters use automated phone calls to steal authentication codes, then hack into your banking, merchant, and third-party payment accounts.
- These scams can be damaging if a fraudster already has several details about you collected from breaches and hacks or given out by cardholders themselves.
Phishing (scams by email) and smishing (phishing by SMS texts) are attempts to trick you into providing sensitive confidential information in order to perpetrate fraud.
- Avoid clicking on links in random emails and instant messages. Go directly to the source rather than clicking on a potentially dangerous link.
Who To Contact
- If you receive a suspicious phone call, email or SMS text message seeking personal or account information, you should immediately notify your financial institution.
- If you note fraudulent activity using your personal or account information, immediately notify the appropriate financial institution and one of the three credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion or Equifax. A temporary freeze can be placed on any account openings.