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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, April 14, 2002

It's still not too late to get tax-filing help

Advertiser Staff and News Services

Tomorrow is the annual deadline for filing federal income tax returns and Saturday is the deadline for filing Hawai'i taxes.

Helpful resources

• Internal Revenue Service: www.irs.gov

• State tax Web site: www.state.hi.us/tax

• Other web sites:

www.taxplanet.com, TaxPlanet

moneycentral.msn.com, MSN

taxes.yahoo.com, Yahoo! Finance Tax Center

• State tax office: 587-6515

• Tax forms by fax/mail: 587-7572

Waited until the last minute to try to sort it out? Here are some things that might help:

• Some electronic filing: To file a state tax return electronically, residents can go to www.state.hi.us /tax/ebiz.html and look for the link to "approved software developer listing" to find a software that is compatible with individual systems.

• Some income tax forms and payments can be made through the Internet. For example, the state form for estimated income tax for individuals is available on a state Web site that has security features for confidentiality. For details, go to www.ehawaiigov.org.

• Forms can be obtained by fax or mail by calling 587-7572 on O'ahu, or toll-free from the Neighbor Islands at (800) 222-7572. Mailing generally takes five working days; faxing generally is within 24 hours.

• Free tax preparation services are available at the O'ahu District Tax Office through April 22 for taxpayers filing the short-form resident income tax return. The service is available Mondays through Fridays on a first-come, first-served basis from 8 a.m. to noon at the Princess Ke'elilolani Building, 830 Punchbowl St., Room 124.

• While new federal legislation has increased the amount individuals can invest in tax-favored retirement and education savings plans, some states — including Hawai'i — have laws that conflict with the increased federal savings limits.

For example, the federal law boosts the maximum you can contribute to an individual retirement account to $3,000, up from $2,000 in 2001. But if you contribute $3,000 to a deductible IRA and the state law remains unchanged, you could end up owing taxes on the $1,000, as well as a penalty.

Hawai'i lawmakers are moving legislation that duplicates the federal changes. The legislation would be retroactive to Jan. 1, which means you'll be able to take advantage of the higher limits before the end of the year. With IRAs, you can make contributions for 2002 until April 2003.