Question: I took advantage of the extension to file our federal income taxes and just finished them now. We already got the stimulus. However, based on our 2019 tax return, we are entitled to more. Will the IRS send the difference between what we received and what we’re eligible for based on our 2019 taxes?
Answer: No. The IRS says filers like you should be able to claim the difference on your 2020 federal income taxes. We’ve been getting versions of this question from multiple readers, so we’ll share the IRS’ explanation in detail.
By stimulus, you are referring to the Economic Impact Payment, which was dispersed as pandemic relief beginning in April. The full amount was $1,200 for eligible individuals with adjusted gross income up to $75,000, or $2,400 for couples filing jointly with adjusted gross income up to $150,000. Payments fell by $5 for each $100 above those thresholds (a reduction rate of 5%), until phasing out completely above $99,000 and $198,000, respectively. In addition, EIP recipients received $500 for each qualifying child under age 17. See calculation examples at 808ne.ws/calceip.
To calculate and issue the EIP for people who filed federal income tax returns, the IRS used the filer’s 2019 return if it was available and their 2018 return if it was not. Many 2019 returns were not available, commonly because the taxpayer had not yet filed (the usual April deadline was suspended because of the pandemic) or due to a backlog in processing.
Filers for whom the 2018 return was used won’t get an automatic payment if their 2019 return shows they should have received more. “If an individual received a payment that is less than the full amount to which the individual is entitled, the individual will be able to claim an additional amount based on his or her 2020 tax return when the individual files it in 2021,” the IRS says on its website.
Likewise, to answer another reader’s question, the IRS won’t issue an EIP now if you were deemed ineligible based on your 2018 return but are eligible based on your 2019 return. You also would claim the credit on your 2020 taxes, it says.
Q: I recently lost my wallet and my driver’s license was inside. I know all the places are closed and I can’t make an online appointment to do my license right away. But I really need something so I can drive my vehicle to go work. What should I do? Can I get some approval paper to drive a vehicle?
A: You should be able to order a duplicate of your lost license online, at www1.honolulu.gov/duplicates, since yours was a regular license (not a commercial one) issued in Honolulu County.
Once you place your order, a temporary paper card will be mailed to your address on file within three to four business days, according to the city. The permanent plastic card will arrive by mail in four to eight weeks, it says. To be clear, this will be an exact duplicate of your existing license, with no change in the expiration date or any other information.
It costs $7 to order a duplicate license online, payable by credit or debit card. All payments are nonrefundable without exception, the city says, so if your old license turns up, you won’t be able to cancel your order and get your money back.
Oahu residents also can use this process to add a gold star to their license, if they last renewed after May 2014 and all their required documents are on file. In that case, no temporary paper card would be mailed. The plastic card would arrive by mail in four to eight weeks.
Mahalo to Lisa and her crew cutting grass along the road. On Sept. 1 I received a phone call from Corrections … wondering if I should answer! Lisa identified herself and said her crew had found a torn envelope with a check from me to a financial institution. Would I like to come get it? I did. It was found far away from where I live. This house payment would have been late, obviously causing problems. Kudos to Lisa and her crew, and good luck to them all! — K.O.
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 email@example.com.