Question: During the pandemic it has been a nightmare to get my birth certificate, marriage licenses and divorce decrees from out of state so I can prove my identity and get a new driver’s license. I finally have the paperwork, after many emails and phone calls to offices that seemed to be barely functioning. My problem is that through all this my Hawaii driver’s license expired. It’s been a year now. What do I do?
Answer: Make an appointment on AlohaQ.org to renew your license as soon as possible. If you renew during Hawaii’s COVID-19 emergency period, which currently extends through April 13, you won’t have to retake the written test or road test — as is usually required of people who let their license lapse for more than a year — because your one-year license reactivation period ends this month, within the emergency period.
The state Department of Transportation explains this on its website, which says, “If the one-year reactivation (renewal) period ended during the Hawaii COVID-19 emergency period, you may reactivate (renew) your DL even if more than one year has passed without having to retake the written test and road test as long as the reactivation (renewal) is completed during the Hawaii COVID-19 emergency period. The DL will not be reactivated (renewed) after the one-year period ends once the Hawaii COVID-19 emergency period has ended and an application for an instruction permit will be required that would also require passing the written test and road test before being issued a driver’s license.”
Hawaii’s emergency period is likely to be extended again, but for now the end date is April 13. Don’t delay making an appointment online, as they book up weeks if not months in advance.
Q: I used that “Get My Payment” thing, and it still says “Payment #2 Status — Not Available.”
A: You’re referring to the tool on the website of the Internal Revenue Service (irs.gov) that allows a person to check whether and when their Economic Impact Payment was issued. The U.S. government has issued all first- and second-round EIPs, commonly known as stimulus payments, and stopped updating the “Get My Payment” database as of Jan. 29, according to the IRS.
The message you’re seeing (status not available) means that the U.S. government did not issue you a direct payment in the second round, and you’ll have to seek any amount for which you are eligible by filing a 2020 federal income tax return and claiming the Recovery Rebate Credit, according to the agency.
Kokua Line is hearing from other readers, especially those who don’t usually file income taxes, that claiming the Recovery Rebate Credit is more complicated than they expected. Readers with internet access can find answers to frequently asked questions about the Recovery Rebate Credit at 808ne.ws/rrcfaq. The information also can be found by going to the IRS main page and searching for Recovery Rebate Credit.
Q: I know most people have moved on to 2020 taxes, but I am still waiting for my refund for 2019! Auwe! My son-in-law is doing my taxes on the computer this year so I won’t have this problem again.
A: Yes, filing electronically should reduce your processing time; the IRS strongly encourages it. “To e-file you will need to enter your Adjusted Gross Income from your tax year 2019 tax return. If your 2019 return has not yet been processed, you may enter $0 (zero) as your prior year AGI,” the agency says on its website.
As of Wednesday the IRS was still processing millions of 2019 tax returns that had been submitted by mail. As you’ve learned, there’s not much you can do to speed things up, except respond promptly to any correspondence from the agency. The IRS says it’s still processing returns dated as early as July 15, which was the extended filing deadline due to the pandemic. The deadline has not been extended this year; federal income tax returns are due April 15.
As for your belated refund, the IRS says, “For refunds that could not be issued in 2020 because the tax return is being corrected, reviewed or awaiting correspondence from a taxpayer, the refund will be issued as a paper check in 2021 per our normal processes.”
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