SUBJECT: TAX APPEALS, Commencement of tax appeals
INTRODUCED BY: SB by Kim by request; HB by Souki by request
BRIEF SUMMARY: Amends HRS section 232-16 to provide that in the commencement of an appeal to the tax appeal court, a notice of appeal shall be served pursuant to rule 4(d)(5) of the Hawaii Rules of Civil Procedure (HRCP).
EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon approval
STAFF COMMENTS: This is an administration measure submitted by the department of taxation TAX-04(14). This measure would require the director of taxation to be served under HRCP rule 4(d)(5) by a sheriff or sheriff’s deputy, supposedly to ensure and document that the department of taxation has proper notice that a tax appeal has been initiated.
Under the bill, it is not sufficient if the appeal is filed within the 30 days after assessment. The complaint and summons need to be served on the director during that time, or the appeal is late and must be dismissed. Personal service on the director is required, so if the director is busy in meetings or at the legislature and it’s hard to find the director, there is a greater chance that the personal service may not be accomplished in time. This amendment not only increases the costs of filing a tax appeal because a sheriff needs to get involved now, but it also greatly increases the chances that an appeal will be dismissed for reasons unrelated to the merits of the appeal. Appeals should be decided on their merits, not lost on technicalities.