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SmartMoney Monday: Tax questions on dependent care, education credits

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The deadline to file taxes is about a month away and Hawaii News Now and Bank of Hawaii are still continuing to receive some great questions.

In this edition of SmartMoney Monday, Bank of Hawaii's Reid Hinaga answers questions about child and dependent care credits as well as education credits.

Steve: We're still taking your questions submitted to our Hawaii News Now Facebook page and the topic for this month is taxes. Here from Bank of Hawaii is Vice President Reid Hinaga to answer your questions. 

Steve: In a previous segment on taxes, we covered child and dependent care credit. A follow-up question came up about before- and after-school care for children under 13. Now, does this qualify for that credit because I know it was mentioned that it did not?

Reid: Yes, to be clear, costs related to before- and after- school care for children under 13 may apply. But summer school and tutoring programs do not apply.

Steve: For our next question, one viewer, named Sarah, asked, "I've already filed my taxes and my refund is on the way. But, I forgot to include that I am a student, which can qualify me for an education credit. How do I amend my return?"

Reid: If it's for this tax season and you already submitted it, you can file a revised return. But, if it's for a prior year, you'll need to use Form 1040X, the Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return form. An amended return cannot be filed electronically, so you'll need to file it by paper. It's also important to enter the year of the return you are amending. In most cases, you have three years from the date you filed your original return or two years from the date you paid your tax-whichever is later.  

Steve: She also asks, "Would my first refund be delayed? Will I get two separate payments?"

Reid: It's best to wait until you have received your original refund before filing your amended return. When you receive it, you can cash that check and wait for your additional refund that goes with your amended return. 

If for any reason you find that you owe additional tax, file it and pay the tax as soon as possible to minimize interest and penalties.    

Steve: Once you submit your amended tax return, how long does it take to process?

Reid: It normally takes up to 12 to 16 weeks. But, three weeks after you file, you can go online at IRS.gov and track the status of your amended tax return. To use the "Where's My Amended Return" tool, you'll need your taxpayer identification number, such as your Social Security number, date of birth and zip code.   

Steve: For others out there, when should you consider filing an amending tax return?

Reid: If you find that you need to correct your filing status, number of dependents, total income, tax deductions or tax credits, that's when you should amend a return. You generally won't need to amend a return if you find that you made some math errors on your original tax return. The IRS will usually correct it and make the change for you. And, if you forgot to attach tax forms, like your W-2s, the IRS will send a request for what is missing.     

Steve: Great. Any last tips?

Reid: If your changes involve other tax schedules or forms, remember to attach them to your Form 1040X. If you don't, this will cause a delay in processing your amended tax return. If you have any questions about your taxes, be sure to consult a tax professional. 

Steve: If you have any questions about your taxes, go to Hawaii News Now and our Sunrise Facebook page and send in your questions today. We may answer it in our next SmartMoney Monday. 


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