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Top 10 (Terrible) Tips for Doing Taxes in Hawaii

Please do not employ these “tips” or interpret them as actual advice. This is meant in the spirit of fun. Unless you have exceptional trees or leprosy (and if so on the latter: sorry), the following is all but certain to get you audited…or worse.

By Vanessa Wolf

taxesYou are not an accountant.

Nonetheless, despite your pledges that THIS is the year you hire a pro, there you are on April 15th: installing TurboTax, sweating bullets, rifling through mountains of paper, and drinking heavily.

We’ve been there.

More than once.

However, our pain is your gain. We have picked up some tips along the way, and with April 15 less than two months away, we thought we’d share them with you.

10. Exceptional trees.

Got these? Then lucky you, you’re looking at a $3000 deduction PER TREE.

Don’t have one?

Figure out what the heck ‘exceptional trees’ means, get up to Kula Nursery and get planting. Crack open a beer and prepare to laugh in the face of anyone who tries to tell you money doesn’t grow on trees.

Not only does the “exceptional trees” deduction raise all kinds of interesting questions like, “exceptionally big? Exceptionally old? Exceptionally good-looking? Home to a badass tree house?,” but it provides some interesting philosophical inquiries as well.

If an exceptional tree falls in the experimental forest and no one is there to hear it, can you still claim it on your taxes?”

9. If you have ever worked or thought about work while in your home, it is now an office. Take a deduction!

8. If you wear glasses, go ahead and click the box for ‘legally blind.’ If they call you on it later, just say you had a fierce case of tax anxiety-fueled hysterical blindness that has since happily reversed itself.

7. Did you move here from the mainland (or anywhere more than 50 miles away)? Good news! So long as you spent at least 40 hours a week on a surfboard or towel for a good portion of the year, your new status as “beach bum” qualifies you as self-employed in our book.

Welcome to moving expense deduction country, where the decision to spend $1200 shipping your beater here no longer seems quite so asinine.

6. The adorable straw hat, amazing new purse, crazy overpriced bikini, and fabulous jeweled sandals you just had to have? Uniform, uniform, uniform. Deduct it, baby!

5. An actual tip from this writer’s CPA mother with respect to dry cleaning charges: “Claim it until they tell you to stop.”

4. Cook the books!

We don’t necessarily know what that means, but it sounds like fun, doesn’t it? Throw in a little paprika, delay expenses, falsify paperwork, and simmer until done. Channel your inner Martha Stewart and be creative. Martha’s been to jail. She’s not worried about it.

3. Owner of six or more mammals of any race, breed, species, or creed? Mark yourself down as head of household.

2. Leprosy.

Sure, it may cause permanent disfigurement, a loss of sensation in your extremities, and a downward trend in your Match.com profile views, but in the state of Hawaii a little something called Hansen’s Disease means you don’t owe them any taxes. Kind of makes you stop and think, doesn’t it?

1. Be certain to sign all your returns as “Bozo the Clown.” It helps your tax lawyer get you a lighter sentence on grounds of insanity later on.

Be well, do good work, and happy filing.

Have an idea for a fun or thought-provoking story? Get in touch: we want to hear from you. -Vanessa (@mauinow.com)

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  • Kalaupapa

    Maui County isn’t the place to poke fun at Hansen’s disease.


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