Time has come for federal tax returns – State filings still have few days

Even with the federal income tax deadline pushed back two days to midnight today, Kaua‘i residents are still taking their time filing — at least at the Lihu‘e Post Office.

And it is very likely, as is the case here and elsewhere in the United States, people will probably file their returns at the last minute.

“There were a lot of people dropping off their filings (Monday), and we always have last minute filings,” temporary Kaua‘i Postmaster Susan Kawamura-Mayer said yesterday.

A state tax official on Kaua‘i said the dropping off of returns at the state Department of Taxation office in Lihu‘e also has been brisk and steady.

People nationwide have extra time to file taxes because the April 15 tax-filing deadline fell on a Sunday, and because April 16 is Emancipation Day, which is a legal holiday in the District of Columbia.

On Kaua‘i, people can drop off their federal filings at the Lihu‘e Post Office and at a processing center on the makai side of Kapule Highway until midnight today.

“There will be only one drop slot provided (at the Lihu‘e Post Office),” Kawamura-Mayer said.

To assist people with their filing, bright-orange placards, with the words “Tax Mail Drop,” will be displayed prominently at both facilities, she said.

Residents also can file returns at post offices in Kekaha, Waimea, Makaweli, Kaumakani, Hanapepe, ‘Ele‘ele, Kalaheo, Lawai, Koloa, Puhi, Hanama‘ulu, Kapa‘a, Kealia, Anahola, Kilauea/Princeville and Hanalei.

Residents can call 800-275-8777 for the opening and closing times of the facilities, Kawamura-Mayer said.

In order for filers to have the returns postmarked April 17, they “must have the sufficient postage affixed,” she said.

The postmaster cautioned, tax returns weighing more than 16 ounces, and bearing stamps, will not be postmarked by the April 17 deadline.

“Anything more than 16 ounces goes to the windows (at post office facilities),” in accordance with a U.S. Postal Service policy, she said.

The state Department of Taxation, meanwhile, will accept state filings until midnight on April 20 via a bright-yellow-colored drop box in the parking lot next to the old state Court House building on Umi Street in Lihu‘e.

Up to the April 20 state deadline, residents can drop off filings by 4:30 p.m. in a drop box at the state tax office on the first floor of the State Building on Hardy Street in Lihu‘e.

Officials suggest only cash payments be made at the window counter.

Doris Waller, a spokeswoman for H&R Block, one of the largest tax preparers on the island, said people can ensure their filings move along without a hitch by putting all required Social Security numbers on returns, using electronic filing and checking over figures and signing forms.

People filing should seek out a new residential energy credit for the installation of solar water heating equipment, Waller said, if the equipment is in fact installed.

Three last minute changes by Congress also allow adjustments for educators who buy books or equipment, for instance, beyond what a school provides, Waller said.

A second congressional change provides for extended tuition and a fees deduction for post-secondary education, she said.

“Up to $ 4,000 can be used, although there are some limitations,” Waller said.

Benefits also are offered for those who use land lines or cell phones for long-distance calls, she said.

People also can file for extensions on their returns, but if they owe money, they need to send money to the IRS with the extension request, Waller said.

• Lester Chang, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 225) or lchang@kauaipubco.com.

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