Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Wednesday, January 14, 1998

Costs that help relieve
disability can be deducted

My daughter is in a special education program at a public elementary school. She is classified as mildly retarded. I was informed by a school official that in some cases, the Department of Taxation sends a form to fill out to prove that child is in special ed. Is there a tax deduction you can take if you have a child with special needs? Who do I call?

There is no special form for such a deduction, either for the state Tax Department or the Internal Revenue Service.

On the state level, there is no tax deduction for dependents of taxpayers who have special needs, said spokeswoman June Yamamoto. But if you, as a taxpayer, are certified disabled, you may fill out Form N-857 for tax exemption purposes, she said.

The IRS, on the other hand, allows taxpayers to include, in medical expenses, payments to a special school for a mentally impaired or physically disabled person "if the main reason for using the school is its resources for relieving the disability," said IRS spokeswoman Shawn George.

Examples: teaching Braille to a visually impaired child; teaching lip reading to a hearing-impaired child, or giving remedial language training to correct a condition caused by a birth defect.

Deductible costs include "meals, lodging and ordinary education supplied by that school."

You can't include in medical expenses the cost of sending a problem child to a special school.

For information or free publications/forms, call 1-800-829-3676.

Why does the Mililani Pizza Hut require you to give them a phone number before taking your order? I have gone in several times and ordered something to take out, but they will not sell me anything unless I give them a number. That's not the case when you sit in the restaurant and order.

You should have the option of not giving your number, said Lisa, the assistant manager.

But no matter whether you order carry-out by phone or in person, you will be asked for your phone number because of the way the computer program is set up, she said.

When it's a carry-out order, the computer automatically asks for a phone number, she said. "It makes it easier for when a customer orders next time," because many customers order the same things, she said. The computer will "bring up a phone number and bring up what you ordered and your name."

But you don't have to give a number. "We understand that there are a lot of customers who don't want to give a phone number," Lisa said.

Glass display case wanted

The Kawananakoa Student Association is hoping someone might be able to spare a glass display case for a logo shop. Call 587-4430.

"We hope students will develop more school pride as they buy items with our school logo," said manager Raelayn Monces.

Kawananakoa Intermediate School Principal Richard Anbe said two girls came up with the idea of the store and began by cleaning out a storeroom and painting it during Christmas vacation. Next step is a logo design contest. After that, they plan to sell school supplies and T-shirts.

"They're not looking at making money, but just going through the process of starting a store and studying the economics of retailing," Anbe said.


To John Davis, who was the unsung hero in the Dec. 20 fire in a townhouse apartment on Kawaihae Street in Hawaii Kai. He got the fire hose and extinguished the fire but left before all the news media arrived. -- W.O.


To Ken and his son, Nainoa, who helped change my flat tire on the H-2 freeway on a Thursday afternoon in December. May you both have a prosperous new year.

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