Federal funds help jobless

HONOLULU — The state Department of Labor &Industrial Relations announced last week that programming updates and federal funding has allowed the department to initiate benefit payments for PUA (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance) claimants who have certified eligible claims for the week ending Jan. 2, 2021, which are being processed this weekend.

The $300 plus-up is included in the payments for PUA claimants. Eligible claimants who certify claims today for the week ending Saturday, Jan. 8, will also have their claims processed, including the $300 plus-up, and receive payment midweek.

The department is diligently working to build additional programs within its unemployment computer system to process the other revised federal benefits and bring much-needed relief to eligible claimants, according to a DLIR press release.

Any benefits delayed will be paid retroactively if necessary and claimants will be made whole. The DLIR will make announcements via its website, news releases, in the unemployment insurance portal, and at twitter.com/HI_DLIR as it implements provisions of the latest COVID-19 relief bill.

Unemployment tax forms coming

The DLIR and the state Department of Taxation remind taxpayers that regular unemployment compensation, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, extended benefits, PUA, federal pandemic unemployment compensation and lost-wage assistance payments are subject to Hawai‘i income tax.

Form 1099-G for calendar year 2020 is scheduled for mailing on or about Jan. 27, to all who received unemployment insurance and pandemic unemployment insurance benefits in 2020. The 1099-G includes the amount of benefits paid and other information to meet federal, state and personal income-tax needs for the tax year.

Additionally, claimants will be able to access and view their total benefits issued and taxes withheld amounts by logging in to their online account at uiclaims.hawaii.gov. Select “Claim Inquiry” from the main menu, then select “Display 1099 Information.”

Claimants who were paid under the PUA program do not have access to this online feature, and individuals who received both PUA and unemployment compensation will be able to view only the total benefits and taxes withheld under the unemployment compensation program when logging in at uiclaims.hawaii.gov.

While income tax may have been withheld from unemployment compensation if requested by the taxpayer, no income tax was withheld from payments made under the PUA program.

“Claimants have the choice to have federal and state taxes deducted or not from weekly-benefits checks when applying for unemployment insurance benefits or assistance, and may only change that choice once during a claim year,” said DLIR Director Anne E. Perreira-Eustaquio.

“We know it has been a difficult year for most Hawai‘i residents, so if you cannot pay the full amount of taxes you owe, we recommend that you still file your return by the deadline and pay as much as you can to avoid penalties and interest,” said state Department of Taxation Director Isaac W. Choy.

For calendar-year filers, 2020 income tax returns (N-11 or N-15) are due April 20.

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