Kokua Line

June Watanabe

Tuesday, March 2, 2004

City offers free towing
service for junk autos

Question: Do you know of a reasonable way to dispose of a car that charities will not accept? Apparently the body-repair cost is prohibitive. The car runs.

Answer: The city will take care of the car for you -- free of charge.

Perhaps if more people knew about this free service, there wouldn't be so many abandoned vehicles left by the wayside.

According to the city, all "junk autos" are recycled. You can arrange for free junking services by calling 532-4325 or go to a satellite city hall to complete and submit an "auto junking" application.

You must turn in the vehicle's title, plates/emblem and the application.

In return you will receive a "notice" to place inside the windshield of the vehicle, mainly so that it is not cited for sitting too long if it is on a public street.

A tow truck will then be dispatched to remove the vehicle, whether it runs or not.

Q: I have not received my W-2 form from a former employer. I called a current employee, and she said she has not gotten hers, either. She asked the manager, who said, "I haven't gotten around to it." Now we're into March, and I want to file my taxes. What can I do? Who do I report this to?

A: You should have received the Form W-2, which is a record of earnings and withheld taxes, by Feb. 2 for 2003 earnings (allowing a few extra days for mail delivery).

Allowing for problems such as a wrong address, the latest you should have received the form was by Feb. 16, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

Whenever employees don't receive a W-2 form, the IRS advises them to first contact the employer to ask why the form wasn't received. It may have been mailed but returned because of a wrong address, for example.

After giving the employer a reasonable amount of time to re-mail or issue the W-2 after making contact and you still haven't received it, call the IRS at 800-829-1040.

Be prepared with the following information: employer's name and complete address, including ZIP code, the employer's identification number (if known) and telephone number; your name and address, including ZIP code, Social Security number and telephone number; and an estimate of the wages you earned, the federal income tax withheld and the dates you began and ended employment.

Even if you do not receive your W-2 form, you still must file your tax return by the deadline. You may use Form 4852 -- "Substitute for Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement" -- instead, but the IRS says it will delay any refund due while the information is verified.

You can get more information by going to the Web site

"We do contact employers when we learn that they have not provided employees W-2s," said IRS spokeswoman Shawn George. "We also help the employee so he or she can file a return."

If employers cannot show "reasonable cause" why they did not furnish the W-2s, they face a penalty of $50 per W-2, George said. "If there is intentional disregard, the penalty is $100 per W-2."


See the Columnists section for some past articles.

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