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Hawaii News | Kokua Line

Kokua Line: Night owls offer tips to reserve DMV appointment

Question: Regarding getting an appointment on, the website says, “Openings are added regularly, so please check back often for additional times.” Is this even true? I’ve tried practically every day and never find anything.

Answer: Yes, hundreds of appointments are added daily, including new dates a month or more from now and cancellations for that day.

Several readers encouraged us to try right after midnight, when Honolulu County releases future dates for its driver’s license center and satellite city halls.

So we stayed up late Tuesday, searching for appointments for driver’s license renewal at Oahu’s six driver’s licensing centers and the four satellite city halls that handle that transaction.

We found appointments available — in January — at five of the six driver’s license centers (the sixth, in Wahiawa, is handling only road tests for now) and in late November at all of the satellites. Many were snapped up quickly.

Others suggested trying around 8 a.m., after people with appointments scheduled that day have been reminded to cancel unneeded spots.

Be forewarned that a big surge in use at any one time may overload the AlohaQ system, in which case your reservation would not go through. You’d have to wait until fewer people were using the system and try again.

By noon Wednesday, scattered appointments remained at most facilities, reflecting the fact that the city’s Department of Customer Services is opening up as many appointments as it can, and further in advance. There were far fewer than had been up for grabs right after midnight, though.

And, as mentioned, the most immediate appointment we found was in November, too late for the multitudes whose licenses and state IDs expire this month.

We continue to hear from readers incensed that the state and county have not done more to streamline the issuance of critically needed credentials during the pandemic. We have emailed readers’ questions to the state Department of Transportation and the city’s Department of Customer Services and hope to receive and publish their responses soon.

Several readers have told us they have complained to the governor’s office and been redirected to the county government, but that response fails to consider the state’s role in setting laws and policies that the counties must follow. Although the county administers driver licensing (and the issuance of state IDs), it must follow rules set by the state. Both are responsible for how well (or not) the public is served.

Q: If our business got a PPP and we don’t have to pay it back, do we have to pay income tax on it?

A: No, forgivable loans from the federal Paycheck Protection Program are not subject to federal or state income tax, according to the state Department of Taxation. Neither are these funds subject to general excise tax, the department says.

“The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) under Section 1102 of the CARES Act provides forgivable loans to small businesses. The receipt of the loan funds, including PPP funds, are not subject to income tax. Regarding forgiveness of the PPP loans, Section 1106(i) of the CARES Act deems forgiven PPP debt, (which) would otherwise be included in gross income, to be excluded from gross income. Thus, loans forgiven under the PPP are not subject to federal income tax,” according to DOTAX, which released information this week about the tax treatment of various COVID-19 federal relief programs. Read the memo at

It also covers the tax implications of specific unemployment benefits, which generally are subject to federal and state income tax.

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

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

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