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ThinkTech Hawaii: The Vacant Homes Tax (Talking Tax)

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Can this Even be Enforced. The host for this show is Jay Fidell. The guest is Tom Yamachika.

Recently, the Honolulu City Council has taken up the idea of imposing a different tax rate for residences that are vacant.

The idea is contained in Bill 76 (2020), a bill that started off last year, was referred to the Council Budget Committee, and was postponed by the committee in November 2020 after a couple of public hearings with only a couple of members of the public weighing in. Now, KHON2 is reporting that there is new momentum for the bill following some discussion by the city’s Real Property Tax Advisory Commission. “The idea is to get folks who have vacant homes to rent them out, or to sell them, hopefully to other local people,” Honolulu City Council chair Tommy Waters is quoted as saying. The contemplated tax would add between 1% and 7%, in other words, an increase of up to 2000%.

But how do you prove that a home is vacant, or, if you’re accused of having a vacant home, how do you prove that you live in it?

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