Kokua Line

June Watanabe

Some vehicles prohibited
from passenger plates

Question: What is the policy of the City and County of Honolulu regarding vehicle license plate type? I recently saw a commercial auto parts pickup truck with passenger plates. Aren't passenger plates allowed on commercial vehicles only if it is used for carrying people? This pickup should have the regular commercial plates where the three numbers are stamped first, followed by three letters, because it is not used in a passenger-carrying business. Please clarify the law for us.

Answer: A letter was to be sent to the registered owner of the vehicle, whose license number you provided, requiring a new registration and commercial license plates.

David Mau, assistant administrator for the city Motor Vehicle and Licensing Division, said there was an "erroneous transaction" that allowed the noncommercial plates to be issued.

The error apparently occurred because the parent company of the business is the registered owner, he said.

Trucks and other vehicles registered to businesses are taxed at a higher commercial rate.

If you or other readers spot something like this in the future, send the pertinent information to the attention of Motor Vehicle Registration, Division of Motor Vehicles, Licenses and Permits, P.O. Box 30300, Honolulu 96820-0300.


I was appalled that the IRS does not understand and does not have compassion for a patient who has had a life and death illness. It would not waive a federal tax penalty for due taxes, which were overlooked because of illness. This taxpayer is able to submit a physician's note stating this fact. But the IRS will not take this into consideration. -- Very Disgusted

The IRS often does take into consideration serious illness and other hardship, waiving federal tax penalties for the period affected, said IRS spokeswoman Shawn George.

Without knowing the particulars, she wasn't able to comment on the case you cite.

George said she was sorry that you feel the IRS did not show compassion, but that at the very least, the patient should have received a letter explaining the decision to deny a waiver of penalties and noting what appeals were available.

Generally, the IRS would look at a physician's documentation, as well as a taxpayer's past record and the time period.

"If there is a pattern of delinquency over the years, the IRS probably would not waive penalties," George said. Also, if the penalties are for periods before the taxpayer suffered the hardship, they probably would not be waived.

Taxpayers with any problems can call the local IRS office to make an appointment to meet with a representative, George said. In Honolulu, the number is 539-2099.

An alternative is to contact a "Taxpayer Advocate," who helps with tax problems that people have not been able to resolve through regular channels.

The number of the Taxpayer Advocate for Hawaii is 539-2870.


Useful phone numbers

Got a question or complaint?
Call 529-4773, fax 529-4750, or write to Kokua Line,
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210,
Honolulu 96813. As many as possible will be answered.
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