Ask the Mayor: Why Can’t Property Tax Values Be Adjusted Throughout the Year?

August 10, 2015, 7:35 AM HST · Updated August 16, 1:24 PM
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Maui County Service Center, where customers go to pay property taxes. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Maui County Service Center, where customers go to pay property taxes. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the most-asked questions submitted to his office staff.

Dear Mayor Arakawa,

Q: I bought a home on Maui last January, but because it had been used as a rental, I had to pay an extra $1,400 in property taxes until my Homeowner Exemption finally kicked in the following year. This is a ridiculous delay; why can’t home values be calculated throughout the year?

A: Real property tax is the largest source of revenue for Maui County, accounting for 41 percent of our County’s available funds. To generate the predicted revenue stream from real property taxes, there must be a cut-off date—a point in time at which all property assessments are frozen as a reference point so that: 1) all taxpayers have the opportunity to review and possibly appeal their assessments (March 15 through April 9), and; 2) the council can make adjustments to the real property tax rates for the annual budget ordinance (April 19 through June 20).

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If assessments fluctuated, real property taxes would fluctuate and the County of Maui might not be able to meet its financial obligations (July 1 through June 30).

The Homeowner Exemption is the largest real property tax subsidy and the most generous in the State of Hawai‘i. So even though a home purchased early in the year, will take longer to qualify for the Homeowner Exemption, it is a tax benefit worth waiting for. 

Want to Ask the Mayor?

Submit your questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa via email at [email protected], by phone at 270-7855 or by mail to 200 S. High St., 9th Floor, Wailuku, HI 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the Ask the Mayor column.

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