Tax credits available for victims of storms
As rain pelted much of O'ahu yesterday, residents recalled the storms that battered many homes early this year and the flood that swept through Manoa Valley in October 2004.
"It's been steadily pouring, and we were just saying, 'Oh no, is this another flood again?' " said Hau'ula resident Zeni Iese, whose roof was badly damaged by the earlier storms.
Homeowners who suffered damage in those storms may be eligible for state income tax credits worth up to $10,000, but many don't know what's available or how to apply for it.
State tax director Kurt Kawafuchi and other officials will explain the tax credits and answer questions at a meeting Thursday at Manoa Elementary School.
In general, the credits are available to victims of flooding in Manoa on Oct. 30, 2004, or heavy rain anywhere in the state from Feb. 20 to April 9, 2006.
The credits are available only to offset costs that are not reimbursable by insurance proceeds or disaster relief payments from government agencies or non-profit organizations. The credits would cover 10 percent of the damage costs, or up to $10,000.
If a homeowner fits the criteria, "it's something they should be aware of and look into," Kawafuchi said.
The tax form for the credits — N-338 — became available yesterday and can be downloaded from the Department of Taxation Web site, he said.
Dozens of Manoa homes were damaged by the flood, and homes throughout the state were thrashed by later storms.
The Manoa flood also caused millions of dollars in damages to Hamilton Library at the University of Hawai'i, which has yet to be repaired.
The Legislature and Gov. Linda Lingle approved the tax credits in May as part of a larger tax relief measure.
Two Manoa lawmakers will host the informational meeting on Thursday. They are Sen. Brian Taniguchi, D-10th (Manoa, McCully) and Rep. Kirk Caldwell, D-24th (Manoa).
"This is a one-time tax credit, so it's important that people learn about it and submit their application," Caldwell said. "Many folks are faced with severe property damage due to the flooding, and this credit will help them financially."
The Department of Taxation has estimated that the tax credits will cost the state $9.5 million.