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Hawaii News | Kokua Line

Kokua Line: Questions on IRS stimulus payments for dependents and minors explored

Question: When the IRS says dependents don’t qualify for the $1,200 stimulus, does that apply only to children or would it apply to a parent too, if I am the caregiver and claim him as a dependent on my income taxes? I am wondering why my 93-year-old father never got the stimulus.

Answer: The rule generally applies to all dependents, according to the Internal Revenue Service, which explains that anyone who can be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return likely didn’t qualify for an Economic Impact Payment (aka stimulus). “For example, this would include a child, student who can be claimed on a parent’s return or a dependent parent who is claimed on their child’s return,” it says at irs.gov.

So that’s likely why your father did not receive a stimulus payment.

Q: Regarding the stimulus, what are the rules for getting the extra money for minors? We received for one child but not the other and they are both under 18.

A: Stimulus recipients may receive up to $500 extra for each “qualifying child” under age 17 who also meets other requirements. The amount would be added to the recipient’s payment, not be considered an EIP directly to the dependent.

The age limit left out many high school and college students who are supported by their parents and claimed as dependents.

To answer another reader’s question, yes, foster children may qualify.

The IRS explains the definitions of a qualifying child at irs.gov:

>> Relationship to the individual receiving the EIP (aka stimulus): The child is the son, daughter, stepchild, eligible foster child, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, half-brother, half-sister or a descendant of any of them (for example, grandchild, niece, or nephew).

>> Child’s age: The child was under age 17 at the end of the taxable year the EIP was based on and is younger than the individual eligible for EIP, or is permanently or totally disabled.

>> Dependent of the individual receiving the EIP: The child was claimed as a dependent on the 2018 or 2019 tax return or was entered into the EIP filing tool on irs.gov.

>> Citizenship: The child is a U.S. citizen, U.S. national or U.S. resident alien.

>> Residency: Child must have lived with the EIP recipient for more than half the tax year.

>> Support for child: Child must not provide over half of own support for the tax year.

>> Taxpayer ID: The child has a valid Social Security number or an Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number.

Q: We retired to Kauai but before the pandemic flew to Oahu every few months and enjoyed the Top of Waikiki as our splurge night on the town. We took out-of-town guests there, too. So we were sad to hear that it won’t reopen. We hold gift cards purchased from the restaurant and we have given some as gifts. How do we get our money back, and how do we let our friends know what to do (the ones we gave gift cards)? I can’t go down there (we are “stuck” on Kauai) and there’s probably no one there anyway since the place is closed.

A: The revolving restaurant known for its panoramic views has a refund process for patrons holding unused gift cards. Email info@topofwaikiki.com and you should receive a refund form by return email instructing you how to proceed.

On the form, you’ll be asked to provide your name, address, email address and phone number and to list the gift cards by number. Once you fill out the form, mail it and the actual gift cards, or, in the case of e-cards, a copy showing the gift card number, to:

Top of Waikiki

2270 Kalakaua Ave.

Suite 1800

Honolulu, HI 96815

Be sure to copy or photograph the form and each gift card for your records.

The restaurant says it is not responsible for any items lost in transit, so mail your items by certified mail or use a tracking service.

It says a check will be mailed to the address you provide after it receives the gift cards. It says it must receive the gift cards to issue a refund.

Closed since mid-March amid pandemic restrictions, the revolving restaurant with panoramic views announced last month that it would not reopen even after those rules were lifted.


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 kokualine@staradvertiser.com.


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