Hawaii County Property Tax “Amnesty” Offered for Agricultural Program

On January 1, the County of Hawai‘i Department of Finance will begin additional review of all taxpayers who claim property tax discounts through the Non-Dedicated Agricultural Use Program. During the final weeks in December, the Finance Department is encouraging any taxpayers who believe they may be claiming that agricultural use discount in error to participate in an “amnesty period.”

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Under the agricultural use classification, owners of non-dedicated agricultural lands who are engaging in agricultural activities may receive property tax discounts under the Non-Dedicated Agricultural Use Program. Currently 10,411 properties participate in this program, and the requirements for the program are described in the Hawai‘i County Code Chapter 19-57.

Property owners who participate in the Non-Dedicated Agricultural Use Program but do not comply with the rules of the program are removed from the program, and the Finance Department automatically imposes a rollback of taxes for the current fiscal year. Starting January 1, the Finance Department will begin a new review that will require that property owners who receive the agricultural use discounts provide documentation of their continuous and regular agricultural activities.

Property owners who currently claim the agricultural use discount but believe they do not actually qualify for the Non-Dedicated Agricultural Use Program may voluntarily withdraw from the program in December without penalty, said Director of Finance Nancy Crawford.

“This program is part of our ongoing effort to encourage agricultural activities in this county, but we need to ensure that the owners who receive these generous benefits are actually engaged in active, continuous agriculture,” Crawford said.

For more information, contact the Real Property Tax Office at 961-8201, or visit www.hawaiipropertytax.com

 

Quarterly Summary of State & Local Tax Revenue

The Quarterly Summary of State and Local Government Tax Revenue provides quarterly estimates of state and local government tax revenue at a national level, as well as detailed tax revenue data for individual states.  This quarterly survey has been conducted continuously since 1962. The information contained in this survey is the most current information available on a nationwide basis for government tax collections.

Click Here for more information

The Local Non-property Tax Survey has been redesigned. A new sample was designed and selected to replace the nonprobability sample used in the past. The first quarter for 2012 presents data from the new sample. Estimates released in the past used the old methodology. We have provided a report that contains the bridge between the old and new units for the fourth quarter of 2010 through the first quarter of 2012. You can access this publication, #2012-3, here [PDF, 220KB] or at the following web page: http://www.census.gov/prod/www/abs/govern.html

Quarterly Tax Information Sheet [PDF, 565KB]

Table 1 – Latest National Totals of State & Local Taxes

Table 1 of the Quarterly Summary of State and Local Government Tax Revenue provides national totals of state and local government tax revenue for current and prior quarters, as well as 12-month calculations.

The First Quarter 2012 data were released on June 26, 2012.

  • Downloadable Data [EXCEL, 46KB]
  • Table 1a TQRR [EXCEL, 29KB]
  • Table 1b CVs [EXCEL, 31KB]
  • Table 1c Margin of Error [EXCEL, 31KB]

 

Table 2 – Latest National Totals of State Tax Revenue

Table 2 of the Quarterly Summary of State and Local Government Tax Revenue provides national totals of state government tax revenue for current and prior quarters, as well as 12-month calculations.

The First Quarter 2012 data were released on June 26, 2012.

  • Downloadable Data [EXCEL, 54KB]

 

Table 3 – Latest State Tax Collections by State

Table 3 of the Quarterly Summary of State and Local Government Tax Revenue provides state government tax collections by state and by type of tax for the current quarter.

The First Quarter 2012 data were released on June 26, 2012.

  • Downloadable Data [EXCEL, 108KB]

 

A Special Note Concerning Revised Data

Revisions reflect tax collection amounts obtained from three general sources. State and local government respondents have submitted revisions to amounts as originally reported. In other cases, governments have reported data, which we used to replace data that were previously imputed or estimated. Finally, some of the revisions were compiled from government sources, both published and unpublished. Current revisions are noted in each table by an “R” or, for Table 3, by a label next to the applicable figure, for appropriate quarters.

Budget Observations by Councilman Hoffman… “We are currently in that ‘Never-Never-Land’ “

Commentary By Councilman Pete Hoffman:

We are currently in that ‘never-never-land’ that prevails immediately prior to the publication of the first draft of the County budget.  When good years reigned, few people bothered with the specifics.  A sense of optimism surrounded the process, and while budget discipline might not have been completely ignored, neither was it a subject of importance.  After all why worry excessively over any number of vacant funded positions?

Now in our third year of significant economic difficulty, budget preparations take on a whole different meaning, particularly when further wage reductions and even layoffs are real possibilities.  Let’s be certain we don’t misstate this situation: the Mayor and the administration did not cause this recession.  It isn’t their fault.  At the same time, it’s hard not to overlook the obvious.  A few Council members have continuously argued for pro-active measures to address the County’s economy over the past two years.  While these proposals would not have solved the economic downturn completely, implementation of some of these suggestions would have greatly improved our current situation.  Instead, the decisions that will be made for the next fiscal year may prove more onerous for us all.

Regardless of the short-term ‘fixes’ the administration and Council will debate in connection with the 2011-2012 budget, there are a couple of longer-range proposals that should be adopted immediately.  I’ve mentioned these previously, on several occasions, and they have been met with ‘thunderous silence’.  In my opinion, there should be a top-to-bottom review of our property tax system.  The disparities of the current tax structure need fundamental reform.  I recognize this may not be an overly popular topic, but to continue the maze of tax rates, exemptions, and other aspects that inflict our current tax structure is to continue to promote a system that does not adequately address present day or future budgetary requirements.

Second, this County must institute a complete reassessment of property values, particularly for industrial, commercial and resort properties.  This review should be made by professional consultants outside the

County administration. We aren’t receiving anywhere near the tax revenues we should from these properties.  I can hear the cries already, “you will hurt business!!” Nonsense.  It’s time we understood that County taxpayers cannot continue this form of ‘corporate subsidy’.  The least we should do is to assess other property categories at approximately the same rate as residential properties.  When some resort and commercial interests are assessed at 50% of market value and residential homes are assessed at 80/90%, something needs adjustment.

Once again, it is a matter of fairness, but more importantly, these are potential revenue sources into which the County should expand.  If these recommendations were adopted two years ago, we would be in less economic ‘doo-doo’ then we are today.  Don’t misinterpret.  To enact measures like these demand the ability and commitment to make tough decisions.  Not everyone will be pleased.  However, I assure you not all will be pleased with the measures needed to handle next fiscal year’s budget either.  The question is when do we start to make the changes needed to correct this situation?  The longer we wait, the harder the decisions will be in the coming years.  I strongly suggest that as part of any budget ordinance for 2011-2012, property tax reform and a property assessment review be part and parcel of that document.  If the Council and administration are committed to correcting years of neglect in these areas, the time to do so is now.