Question: I called Tax-Aide to make an appointment, and the message said “no longer available.” I can’t remember which location I called; it was on the west side. Did they fill up already?
Answer: Ten of 13 Oahu sites have stopped accepting telephone calls to make appointments for free tax preparation, according to the AARP Tax-Aide program’s Hawaii website, which said the opening of those 10 locations has “been delayed due to circumstances outside of our local control.”
As of Tuesday the sites listed as “closed until further notice” were Catholic Charities, International Church of Oahu, Hawaii Kai Public Library, Kahuku Public School/Library, Aiea Public Library, Nanakuli Public Library, Waianae Public Library, Ewa Beach Library, Villages of Kapolei Recreation Center and Kroc Center, according to the website, taxaidehi.org.
As we previously reported, Tax-Aide sites statewide had opened telephone lines Feb. 1 so people could make appointments for later this month, after the Internal Revenue Service opens e-filing on Friday, which is later than usual.
Craig Gima, a spokesman for the AARP in Hawaii, said Hawaii residents can use the national website for the AARP Foundation’s Tax-Aide program, taxaide.aarpfoundation.org, to learn about available free tax-preparation service.
“People can register there for either a drop-off appointment or online tax assistance or attempt to use the free online tools that are available to do their own taxes,” he said in an email.
As of Tuesday three Oahu locations were listed on the national website, offering drop-off service only, meaning the taxpayer would make an appointment to drop off tax documents and return at another time to sign and pick up completed returns.
All Tax-Aide service this year will be by appointment only — no walk-ins. The program focuses on taxpayers who are older than 50 and have low to moderate income and relatively simple state and federal tax returns.
Auwe to government agencies that have failed in their duty to serve the public in Hawaii. A year into the pandemic, still no in-person service for unemployment. A year into the pandemic, still no walk-in service at the DMV. At the DMV they say make an appointment, but there are no appointments! At the DLIR they say call for help, but no one answers the phone! This is some (expletive deleted, expletive deleted)! — Fed up
Why are they talking about giving another $500 Restaurant Card to people on unemployment!? If they’re “on unemployment,” that means they are receiving their weekly benefits! How about some help for those of us who are still pending after all this time? Even better than a Restaurant Card, how about “escalating our claim for adjudication” like they promised? — Hopeless
Once again, people who have been working straight through this pandemic, in difficult conditions, with no hazard pay and no vaccine, are being overlooked. Yes, I am grateful to have a job, but c’mon, do something for people who are going above and beyond to keep working and are barely making it. — Frustrated
(Note: Kokua Line’s voice mail has been filling up with messages from people angry about what they describe as state and local government failures during the pandemic. Many mention the state’s failure to fully launch the federal government’s 11-week extension of Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, while others say that government agencies should be working as hard as private businesses to adapt to these challenging times. While Kokua Line publishes as many Mahalos as possible, focusing on the positive, we can’t ignore the growing Auwe contingent.)
Write to Kokua Line at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email [email protected]