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Tom Yamachika

Tom Yamachika
Tom Yamachika is the President of the Tax Foundation of Hawaii, a private, nonprofit educational organization dedicated to informing the taxpaying public about the finances of our state and local governments in Hawaii. Tom is also a tax attorney in solo practice and has been since early 2013. Prior to 2013, he was with the accounting firm Accuity LLP, which was formed in 2006 from the Honolulu office of Coopers & Lybrand (which later became PricewaterhouseCoopers). Before that, he served as an Administrative Rules Specialist in the State of Hawaii Department of Taxation from 1994 to 1996, where he drafted rules, interpretive releases, and legislation on several different state taxes. Prior to that, he practiced litigation and tax law with Cades Schutte Fleming & Wright in Honolulu.

Weekends Safe Once Again, Maybe

Back in 2014, we wrote in this space about a nasty Honolulu City & County rule involving real property tax appeals.  That rule said that if you as a property owner didn’t like your real property tax assessment and you wanted to appeal it, the appeal had better be in by January 15th.  It didn’t matter if the government was …

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TAXWatch: Wayfair – Playing Catch-Up

This week, we continue with our coverage of Wayfair, the U.S. Supreme Court case that held online sellers can be made to collect state sales taxes even if they don’t have a physical presence in that state. Here in Hawaii, Act 41 of 2018 was fashioned after the South Dakota threshold and says that if a business has 200 transactions …

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TAXWatch: The Wayfair Switch in Time

In late June, the U.S. Supreme Court decided the Wayfair v. South Dakota case.  It was a huge turning point in constitutional law involving the ability of states to tax “online sellers” such as Amazon, Newegg, and Wayfair. “Yeah,” you might say.  “I know about online sellers because last April, Amazon started charging Hawaii GET, so I had to pay …

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TAXWatch: Who Can We Beat Up with Property Tax?

The ongoing furor in Honolulu over the extent to which the rail project is adequately funded, or lack thereof, and the possibility of new state-mandated property taxes to fund education lead us to look at how we can or should make property tax classifications. Real property tax is currently a county tax.  It applies to real property that is owned …

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TAXWatch: HB2748

House Bill 2748, which will become law soon, is sometimes referred to as the “Bob Nakata bill” after the former legislator, now reverend, who was one of the bill’s champions.  It aims to advance the goal of providing “affordable housing” in our island state. One part of the bill appropriates $200 million to the Rental Housing Revolving Fund, which, according …

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TAXWatch: It’s Not Easy Bein’ an Employer

It’s tough being an employer, especially here in Hawai`i. If I am a business, or even a nonprofit, in Hawai`i and I want to hire paid staff, there are all kinds of things to consider. Before I hire the worker, I need to comply with laws saying what I can and can’t ask the prospective employee.  I might get in …

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TAXWatch: Pray I Don’t Alter It Any Further

A few days ago, I got my annual emailed reminder from the Social Security folks that they prepared an electronic statement for me – they’ve gone green, so they aren’t sending those statements on paper any more.  So, for the first time in years, I logged in and looked at it.  There, in the middle of the page, were some …

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TAXWatch: Can’t You Just Change the Agenda?

Recently, State Auditor Les Kondo shocked the public and some Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) Board members when he charged, at a HART board meeting, that HART employees had been required to record all interviews with State Auditor personnel and then submit the recordings to management to be transcribed.  That’s “interference with the audit process,” he said. What happened …

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TAXWatch: Balanced Budget

If you are a serious student of Hawaii constitutional law, here is a question for you.  Where in our state constitution does it say we have to have a balanced budget?  The answer appears later in this article. The part of our constitution directly governing our state’s budget is Article VII, section 8.  It says that “the governor shall submit …

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TAXWatch: The California Stupidity Fund, Part 2

About three months ago, I wrote about the $10,000 limitation on deductions for state and local tax that is part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.  In a nutshell, you can only deduct up to $10,000 in state and local tax.  If you paid more, you get no tax deduction for the excess; not now, and not …

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