HI-5: The leakage hasn’t stopped yet

Just three months ago, the Hawaii State Auditor released the latest in a series of reports over the years on the Hawaii Deposit Beverage Container Program, known as HI-5.

Shining a bright light on state revenue estimates

At the Legislature, I often hear legislators considering proposed tax legislation ask our state Department of Taxation (DOTAX) how much money a certain proposal would bring in (if it’s a “revenue-raiser”) or cost (if it’s a tax credit or exemption).

The ‘rail skim’ lawsuit: We lost the battle, taxpayers won the war

A long time ago, in October 2015 to be more precise, the Tax Foundation of Hawaii sued the state. Why? Because at the time, the state was skimming 10 cents off every dollar that was being collected for rail, and it plopped the money into the state’s general fund, where it was spent on everything but rail.

Gut-n-Replace 2019

This week we’ll discuss a couple of examples from this legislative session of the controversial but commonly used technique called “Gut and Replace” where a bill is amended so much that it looks nothing like its former self.

‘Tension’ continues between lawmakers, judges

When we learn about our three branches of government, we’re usually told that the legislative branch makes the laws, the executive branch carries them out, and the judiciary branch interprets them. Each branch serves as a check and balance on the other two.

Judgments aren’t necessarily the end of litigation

Several online travel companies engaged in protracted litigation against the state Department of Taxation over whether and to what extent they are liable for Hawaii general excise and transient accommodations taxes on hotel accommodations that they sold to third parties on their respective platforms.

Post those tax returns, darn it!

One of the more debate-worthy bills at our Legislature (Senate Bill 94) involves requiring candidates for president and vice president of the United States to post their tax returns on the Internet.

Blank the amount, defect the date

If you’re following bills as they move through our legislature, there are a couple of practices that we need you to know about. Often, committee chairs will refer to one or both of these practices when they move bills forward.

Beware of state nuances with tax software

Well, we’re in the thick of tax season! It’s that time of year when individuals, gritting and gnashing their teeth, scour through their financial records and begin the arduous process of completing their 2018 federal and state tax returns.

Creativity abounds at our Legislature, part 2

This week, we are continuing our coverage of creative tax-related bills at our Legislature. The Hawaii State Tax Watch Doggie is taking a nap at the moment, so I’ll continue without him.