What Are The Property Tax Rates in Honolulu County (Oahu)?
For residential real estate on Oahu we have 3 rates:
1) Residential: 0.35% of assessed value. This rate applies to any property where an owner successfully claims the home exemption (click here for the home exemption form), irrespective of the assessed value. An owner can only claim the home exemption if it is the owner’s primary residence. Proof of primary residence may be satisfied by showing evidence you are registered to vote in Honolulu, file income tax return as a resident of the State of Hawaii or occupy the home 270 days or more per calendar year. As of writing, owners who successfully claim the home exemption, benefit from an $80,000 exemption, which means $80,000 is deducted from the assessed value and the homeowner pays property taxes based on the balance. For homeowners 65 years or older, this exemption increases to $120,000.
If a property is assessed at less than $1,000,000 this tax rate applies, irrespective of the homeowner’s status (primary home, investment property or 2nd home) and it also applies if the property is a Co-Op, since a Co-Op building, legally, does not have individual owners, but rather shareholders of a corporation that in turn owns the entire building. Shareholders in Co-Ops can’t take advantage of the home exemption, since they legally do not own the unit they occupy and shareholders may be paying taxes based on the assessed value of the unit they occupy or based on the percentage of shares they own times the building’s overall assessed value. The association’s board determines which approach to use in collecting taxes from Co-Op shareholders.
2) Residential A: 0.6% of assessed value. This rate applied to any property assessed at $1,000,000 and up for owners who can’t claim the homeowner’s exemption (investors, 2nd home owners etc).
Note: Late 2016 a group of owners sued the City & County of Honolulu, claiming this tax rate – Residential A – is illegal. A judge ruled in favor of the owners and the City is now appealing the case.
3) Hotel & Resort: 1.29% of assessed value. This is the property tax rate for owners who run short-term vacation rentals on parcels zoned Hotel / Resort (see list of short-term vacation rental condos)
What is Assessed Value & How is it Determined?
Property taxes are based on assessed value, which is a value the tax office’s appraisal team determines a property is worth, which is different from the actual market value – the price a Buyer actually pays for a property.
Determining Assessed Value for Existing Properties
An appraiser from the tax office will typically review and analyze 5 comparable properties that have sold prior to July 1 of a given year (without actually visiting the properties) to determine the assessed value of a given property for October 1. Since the appraiser only analyzes comparable properties sold prior to July 1, the appraiser will also evaluate how much the market may have moved up or down in the 3 month period from July 1 to October 1 and also consider such market move in determining the property’s value on October 1. The assessed value on October 1 is used to calculate property taxes due the following fiscal year.
Example: The assessed value on October 1, 2017 is used to determine property taxes for fiscal year 2018, which runs July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019.
Determining Assessed Value for New Construction
For new construction – not completed yet – the appraiser will typically analyze the costs of the building permits the developer takes out at Honolulu’s Department of Planning & Permitting, to determine the assessed value. Costs of building permits are normally a fraction of the actual market value and a major reason why new construction oftentimes have 1 year or longer with property taxes that are substantially below where property taxes should be, based on market value.
Example: If a new condo project is completed May 2017 the property taxes for fiscal year 2017 (July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018) will be based on assessed value on October 1, 2016, which is a date prior to the project being completed, and there is a good chance property taxes will be low, relatively to market value, since the assessed value is determined in great part based on the costs of the developer’s building permits. Come October 1, 2017 there will be sales data (at the least May 2017 original sales prices) and it is likely the assessed value for fiscal 2018 (July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019) will be much closer to the condo’s market value.
How Do I Contest an Assessed Value?
An owner can contest and appeal the assessed value if an owner believes the assessed value is too high. However, make sure to have actual recent sold data to back your claim. Feelings about market directions and properties listed for sale (not sold) is irrelevant. Appeals can be filed online From Dec 15 of a given year through Jan 15th of the following year from this site: https://www.realpropertyhonolulu.com/ (click on “File an Appeal”).
When Are Property Taxes Due in Honolulu?
In Honolulu County – island of Oahu – the fiscal year for property taxes runs from July 1 of a given year to June 30 of the following year and the taxes are due in 2 even installments:
1st Installment: Due by August 20 (payment for July 1 – Dec 31 taxes) – bill mailed to owner around July 20,
2nd Installment: Due by February 20 (payment for January 1 – June 30 taxes) – bill mailed to owner around January 20.
Note 1: If Aug 20 or Feb 20 falls on a holiday, Saturday or Sunday, then payment deadline is extended to the next business day.
Note 2: An owner may pay the entire 1 year property tax bill, as part of the 1st installment – no need to wait until February 2nd installment deadline.
How Can I Pay My Honolulu Property Taxes?
There are 4 ways to pay for your property taxes in Honolulu:
1) Online: www.hnlpay.com. There is a 2.35% fee for credit, visa and master card payments.
2) Phone: Call 1 (877) 309-9117.
3) Check: Issue a check to “City & County of Honolulu” and mail it to City & County of Honolulu, Real Property Tax Collection, Division of Treasury, PO Box 4200, Honolulu, HI 96812 (verify before mailing).
4) In Person: Pay in cash or with a check by visiting City Hall, Division of Treasury, 530 South King St #115, Honolulu, HI 96813. Hours: Monday – Friday (except holidays) 7.50am – 4.15pm.
What Is The Penalty for Late Payment of Property Taxes in Honolulu?
Interest at the rate of 1% for each month will be applied to all delinquent taxes and penalties.
For New Property Owners
If you are a new property owner, requesting the tax office to send your tax bill to a different address than the previous owner, please keep in mind it typically takes around 4 months before the City & County of Honolulu update their records with your address and a property tax bill may be (mistakenly) mailed to the previous owner’s address. You can – upon taking ownership- call the Honolulu Property Tax Department (808) 768-3980 and ask them to mail the next tax bill to your address.
You can also keep an eye on property taxes due from this page: http://www.qpublic.net/hi/honolulu/search.html and:
1) Select “Yes, I accept the above statement”,
2) Click “Search by Site Address”
3) Enter the Street Number, Street Name and Unit Information. However, for “Street Name” do not include street suffix such as “Boulvard”, “Street”, “Avenue” etc. Example: If you want to search for “1118 Ala Moana Boulevard” enter “1118” under “Street Number” and under “Street Name” you enter “Ala Moana” without “Boulevard”.
Disclaimer: This information is for general information purposes only and should not be relied upon for any legal, business, economic or tax decisions. We are just a real estate agency, not tax or legal advisors, and we do not provide any form of legal or tax advice and before making any decisions you should consult with a qualified adviser.