Tax season is upon us! Personal taxes are already a bit overwhelming, and business taxes can be even more intimidating, so the first topic we’ve selected for our new Technical Assistance Workshop Series is: tax assistance!  Throughout 2017, we’ll be providing a number of learning opportunities for our Food Hub farm partners on small business topics, designed to make life easier for those doing the life-sustaining work of food production.  So first, take a deep breath and de-stress with this recipe for a soothing mamaki tea, then check out this roundup of free local resources on getting your taxes done.

Mamaki Tea Recipe:

Tea brewed from the leaves of the endemic Hawaiian mamaki tree has many healthy benefits, including increasing blood flow, releasing digestive blockages, and cleansing blood toxins.

  1. To make this mild but delicious tea, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil at 160 degrees.  Remove pot from the heat.
  2. Add a handful of fresh mamaki leaves to the water.
  3. Let steep until the tea is a rich red in color.

Our technical assistance topic for this month is:

Business Tax Advice

Hawai’i has several free tax services, in addition to the many free tax resources and kinds of filing software available online (see below).  For our Food Hub partners, if you’d like more information on how to connect with these resources, please ask a Roots staff member during one of your scheduled deliveries, or email our curriculum specialist, Lilian Kong (

If you’re interested in becoming a Food Hub partner, please find more information here.

Free Tax Services

Hawai`i Small Business Development Center (SBDC) (

Two free services:

  1. Free Legal Clinic – half hour sessions on the first and third Wednesday of each month from 11 am to 1 pm at Manoa Innovation Center

  2. Free CPA (Certified Public Accountant) advice – half hour sessions starting up again after the tax session in July 2017 with Kapolei-based accounting firm My Personal CPA


Legal Aid Society of Hawai`i (

Two free services for low income business:

  1. Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.

    • They will file your business taxes for you if you are self-employed and you make less than $10,000 in profit (not sales). (However, If you are a farm owner and are claiming a loss or a depreciation in equipment, it’s likely Legal Aid cannot assist.)

    • If you are not a business owner, VITA can file your taxes for free if your income is under $60,000.

  2. Low Income Tax Clinic program. If you receive a letter from the IRS stating that you have a problem with your taxes, a Legal Aid tax attorney can help you resolve that problem (no restrictions on your amount of profit).

Call their intake hotline at 536-4302, M-F from 9:00-11:30 am and 1:00-3:30 pm.


Resources for Doing Taxes Yourself

Links for Free Tax Preparation and Online Filing

(from the Hawai`i Department of Taxation)


The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

Useful articles on topics like:

  • Is it a Business or a Hobby?
  • Obtaining your Federal Business Tax ID
  • Determining your Federal and State Tax Obligations
  • Determining When the Tax Year Starts


The Business Action Center (from Hawai`i Department of Commerce)

Includes resources for:

  • Small Business/Self-Employed
  • Tax licenses required by the state of Hawai`i
  • Property Tax


Hawai`i Department of Taxation


Future Tax Credits

The state of Hawai`i will soon be offering tax credit for farmers to get certified organic:

“Hawai`i’s new tax credit will reimburse an organic farmer for virtually all costs of organic food production and certification, up to $50,000.”

For more information, see this article: