Pandemic’s precautions make it tough for Hawaii seniors to get tax help

Pandemic’s precautions make it tough for Hawaii seniors to get tax help

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Tax season starts Friday and while the start date is later than in previous years, the IRS says the deadline for filing will not be pushed back like it was last year.

One significant concern: There are fewer options now for those who need help navigating the sometimes confusing and overwhelming process.

AARP is offering more assistance through its website and encouraging seniors to file online.

Many of AARP’s tax prep centers around Hawaii are closed for safety reasons during the pandemic, but agency spokesman Craig Gima said they are working on reopening with limited capacity.

“Some of the sites may be opening in March but the appointments are going to be limited. Obviously, we do not want people lining up waiting to get their taxes done. We can’t have that,” Gima said.

In previous years, AARP teamed up with the Lanakila Senior Center in Kalihi to help hundreds of seniors.

Suzanne Chun Oakland, program coordinator of the center, said they’ll be able to help 48 members this year using a drive-thru system and the spots are filling up fast.

The AARP said those who cannot take advantage of the limited services available, and those who cannot file online, can call the agency: 1-888-AARPNOW (1-888-227-7669).

Gima said leave a message and someone will return the call.

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