February 20, 2016

Hawaii residents can take advantage of free tax assistance

Tax season is here, and with the federal deadline just over two months away, one Hawaii legislator wants to make sure you’re getting the most out of your tax return.

U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono helped put the word out about a partnership between AARP, the IRS and Catholic Charities Hawaii to offer free tax prep services to local residents.

Anyone with an income of under $55,000 is eligible for the service, with many seniors taking advantage of the service being held at the Catholic Charities Hawaii campus on Keeaumoku Street.

Senator Hirono was promoting the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit, both of which are now permanent, thanks to new legislation.

Tax professionals say the most important thing you can do to make sure you’re getting the most out of your taxes is one simple thing: Make sure you file your return.

Many people in Hawaii are already taking advantage of the EITC — 115,000 households in 2012 alone, which works out to $240 million back in the pockets of hardworking families.

But the senator says that number could be higher. “The Earned Income Tax Credit is for people who are working, but they still don’t file for this text credit. About 80 percent of the people that apply for this text credit get it.”

Senator Hirono wants to make sure everybody that qualifies for the credit takes advantage of it on their tax returns.

“The main thing is we shouldn’t leaving any money on the table,” she said.

And remember, you don’t have to be a member of AARP or a retiree to use this free service.

Source: KHON