7,600 People in Hawaii Due for Federal Tax Refund from 2008 If They File by April 17; Mayor’s Race, Abercrombie in National News; Berg on Rail, Re-election

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Photo: Emily Metcalf

7,600 People in Hawaii Due for Federal Tax Refund from 2008 If They File by April 17

Refunds totaling more than $1 billion may be waiting for one million people who did not file a federal income tax return for 2008, the Internal Revenue Service announced today. However, to collect the money, a return for 2008 must be filed with the IRS no later than Tuesday, April 17, 2012. That includes 7,600 people in Hawaii.


The IRS estimates that half of these potential 2008 refunds are over $600.

In some cases, people may not have filed their 2008 returns because they had too little income to require filing a tax return even though they had taxes withheld from their wages or made quarterly estimated payments. In cases where a return was not filed, the law provides most taxpayers with a three-year window of opportunity for claiming a refund. If no return is filed to claim a refund within three years, the money becomes property of the U.S. Treasury.

For 2008 returns, the window closes on April 17, 2012. The law requires that the return be properly addressed, mailed and postmarked by that date. There is no penalty for filing a late return qualifying for a refund.

The IRS reminds taxpayers seeking a 2008 refund that their checks may be held if they have not filed tax returns for 2009 and 2010. In addition, the refund will be applied to any amounts still owed to the IRS, and may be used to offset unpaid child support or past due federal debts such as student loans.

By failing to file a return, people stand to lose more than refunds of taxes withheld or paid during 2008. Some people, especially those who did not receive an economic stimulus payment in 2008, may qualify for the Recovery Rebate Credit. In addition, many low-and moderate-income workers may not have claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The EITC helps individuals and families whose incomes are below certain thresholds. The thresholds for 2008 were:

  • $38,646 ($41,646 if married filing jointly) for those with two or more qualifying children,
  • $33,995 ($36,995 if married filing jointly) for people with one qualifying child, and
  • $12,880 ($15,880 if married filing jointly) for those with no qualifying children.

For more information, visit the EITC Home Page on IRS.gov.

Current and prior year tax forms and instructions are available on the Forms and Publications page of IRS.gov or by calling toll-free 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676). Taxpayers who are missing Forms W-2, 1098, 1099 or 5498 for 2008, 2009 or 2010 should request copies from their employer, bank or other payer. If these efforts are unsuccessful, taxpayers can get a free transcript showing information from these year-end documents by ordering it on IRS.gov, filing Form 4506-T, or by calling 800-908-9946.

Report from IRS

Mayor’s Race, Abercrombie in National News 

The Wall Street Journal has an article appearing yesterday that profiles Honolulu’s mayor’s race and how it may impact the city’s plan to build a $5.3 billion elevated steel wheel on steel heavy rail system from Kapolei to Honolulu.

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie is also receiving national coverage for two issues: his decision not to defend Hawaii’s civil union law, and instead side with the legal challenge trying to establish gay marriage in Hawaii; and in an article entitled “Rookie Governors: Who’s Struggling” in Governing Magazine.

About Abercrombie, the author writes:

“Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D), a longtime U.S. House Member, has had some trouble adjusting to the governorship. By late last year, he was declared the least popular governor in the nation by Public Policy Polling, with an approval rating of just 30 percent. It got to the point where several staffers left Abercrombie, including his chief of staff, his deputy chief of staff and his director of communications. His refusal to reveal the names of his judicial nominees prompted a successful lawsuit by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, and he failed in efforts to tax sugary drinks and increase the alcoholic beverage tax.

“His popularity seems to have recovered a bit of late, with a 39 percent approval rating this month in the Hawaii poll. The state’s largest bond issue has pumped money into construction projects, and the state’s pivotal tourism industry has experienced a slow but steady turnaround. Abercrombie has also managed to chalk up some policy successes with the help of a strongly Democratic legislature. He signed a bill creating civil unions in the state, an issue his Republican predecessor Linda Lingle had vetoed and which became a significant campaign issue. Also, he turned a $1.2 billion deficit into a positive general fund balance, thanks in part to aggressive union negotiations and government restructuring, among other initiatives.”

Berg Drumming Up Support for His Re-election in Unconventional Manner

Honolulu City Council Member Tom Berg is trying to drum up support for his run for city council with an unconventional method. He is repeatedly contacting media and members of the public opposed to the city’s plan to construct the $5.3 billion rail system, telling them they need to focus on his re-election, not just that of Ben Cayetano’s run for Honolulu mayor, if they want to stop the rail project from being built. He also wants support for his plan to remove funding to manage the rail project from the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit, the semi autonomous city agency charged with overseeing the project.

In the most recent email, he writes: “In the event Ben Cayetano gets in- and there are not four councilmembers to back him up to sustain his veto (funding) of Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit – there is another option. By repealing HART and putting rail back into Department of Transportation Services –  Cayetano, or any anti-rail mayor for that matter can then control the purse strings and stop the train…this is PLAN “B.”  Getting four council members in to back Ben is a longshot…and many want me out as well. It is imperative I get support from all to REPEAL HART- since my maneuver to place rail on the ballot was FILED= meaning rail itself as a subject matter cannot be put on the ballot – bill is dead and cannot be resurrected this cycle. But I CAN PUT HART on the ballot and that would be a huge message too- if repealed by the voters. KHON News covered my plan to introduce the charter amendment today as well.  Here is the news story from TV.”