Kokua Line: Will AARP offer free tax prep for non-members?

Jan. 21—Question: Does AARP still offer free tax filing for nonmembers? I haven't heard about it this year. If yes, can they help me file a Hawaii return even if I don't have to file a federal return? I don't have much income.

Answer: Yes, the AARP Foundation's Tax-Aide program will offer free tax preparation on Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the island of Hawaii starting next month. You don't have to be an AARP member to use Tax-Aide, which focuses on helping older residents with low- to mid-range incomes file federal and state income tax returns. There is no fee for this service.

Tax-Aide locations, dates and times are listed on the Hawaii chapter's new website, 808ne.ws/ hitaxaarp, which explains that service will vary by location. It says:

"In-person sites will prepare your return in your presence (face to face). You will leave with a completed tax return that will be e-filed within 24 hours of completion.

"Same-day drop-off sites will prepare your return while you wait outside of the tax preparation room — perhaps in your car, perhaps in a separate room. You will leave with a completed tax return that will be e-filed within 24 hours of completion.

"Sites may offer walk-in service (first-come, first-served) or may require that you call ahead for an appointment. Check our site schedule for information." The site schedules are posted on the website, and we also will publish the Oahu information next week, as several readers have requested. As for your second question, yes, AARP Tax-Aide handles Hawaii state returns for full-year residents filing Form N-11 and "can prepare state returns to claim refundable credits even if no federal return is required," the website says. The program does not file Hawaii Form N-15 for part-year or nonresidents.

Highway closure

The H-1 Freeway westbound between Middle Street and the Airport off-ramp (Exit 16) will close Wednesday night for the installation of new traffic signs. The closure is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. Wednesday and end at 4 a.m. Thursday. The westbound Airport off-ramp (Exit 16) also will be closed, the state Department of Transportation said in a news release. During the closure, westbound motorists should take Nimitz Highway.

"Motorists traveling on the H-1 Freeway will be directed to the Nimitz Highway offramp (Exit 18), and motorists traveling on Nimitz Highway will be directed to continue onto Nimitz Highway under the Airport Viaduct," the DOT said. Construction crews will remove old overhead signs that span across all freeway lanes and install new ones that include Hawaiian diacritical marks, as part of Phase 3 of the H-201 Moanalua Freeway Destination Sign Upgrade Replacement Project, the DOT said.

Q: Does the DMV have weekend hours?

A: Four driver licensing centers on Oahu offer appointments on certain Saturdays, for certain services, according to Honolulu's Department of Customer Services. Saturday appointments become available on the AlohaQ online reservation system the preceding Wednesday afternoon. According to the CSD website, the Kapalama DLC will have Saturday appointments on Feb. 10 and March 16; the Kapolei DLC will have them Feb. 24 and March 2; the Koolau DLC will have them Feb. 3 and March 9; and the Wahiawa DLC will have them Feb. 17 and March 23.

For more information, see www8.honolulu.gov/csd/latest-news.


Everyone should know by now that every online system is subject to hacking. As a physician, I kept most of my medical records in my office in paper form. My accounting and billing computer was only in-house and not connected to the internet. Most records could only be lost by theft or fire. In my 40 years of practice only two charts were lost. Too bad the government, insurance companies and hospitals are forcing everyone to expose their critical data to all those hackers. I might still be practicing if that were not the case. HMSA should just assume that all patient data has probably been compromised and warn everyone. — Retired physician


Write to Kokua Line at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 7-500, Honolulu, HI 96813; call 808-529-4773; or email kokualine@staradvertiser.com.