HAWAII: The Bottom Line--Least Tax-Friendly
From Kiplinger, October, 2018
The Aloha State, one of Kiplinger's top ten least tax-friendly states, is known for its high cost of living — and high taxes. Starting in 2018, the top tax bracket is an eye-popping 11% (applied to taxable income over $400,000. Also, don't be fooled by Hawaii's 4.35% average sales tax rate. Since it's due on virtually all transactions, the pocketbook effect is severe. A ray of sunshine: Property taxes as a percentage of home value are the lowest in the U.S.
4%. Hawaii employs a General Excise Tax that applies to a wide range of goods and services. Only prescription drugs and prostheses are exempt. Oahu has a county surcharge tax of 0.5% to pay for a mass transit system, making the average combined rate 4.35%, as calculated by the Tax Foundation. Complicating matters further, the tax is calculated on the vendor rather than the buyer, which means consumers pay a few percentage points more in practice.
Income Tax Range
Low: 1.4% (on taxable income up to $4,800 for married couples filing jointly; on up to $2,400 for married couples filing separately and individual filers)
High: 8.25% (on taxable income over $48,000 for married couples filing jointly and surviving spouses; on over $96,000 for married couples filing separately and individual filers)
Effective income tax rate: 6.5%/individual, 7.1%/joint
See Kiplinger.com’s Retiree Tax Map to learn how Hawaii taxes Social Security income and other forms of retirement income.
Motor Fuel Taxes
Gasoline: $0.48 per gallon (varies by county).
Diesel: $0.49 per gallon (varies by county).
The median property tax on Hawaii's median home value of $538,400 is $1,459.
See Kiplinger.com’s Retiree Tax Map for details on tax breaks for seniors in Hawaii.
State excise tax is due on vehicle sales. Vehicles are also taxed by weight at registration. (Example: A 4,000-pound vehicle registered in Honolulu County would owe $200 to the county and $75 to the state.)
Cigarettes and little cigars: $3.20 per pack
Large cigars: 50% of the wholesale price
Other tobacco products: 70% of the wholesale price
Beer: $0.93 per gallon ($0.54 for draft beer)
Wine: $1.38 per gallon ($2.12 if sparkling)
Liquor: $5.98 per gallon
Hotel: 9.25% state lodging tax. Excise tax is also due. In Honolulu, this adds up to 13.75%.
Rental cars: $3 per day, plus excise tax.
Taxes On Wireless Service
Inheritance and Estate Taxes
Hawaii's estate-tax exemption is indexed to the federal limit: $11.2 million for 2018. Tax rates range from 10% to 15.7%.
Not a tax, but a deduction: The "Exceptional Tree" act allows homeowners and others to deduct up to $3,000 in expenses per tree for a tree that's big, old, rare or some combination thereof. The work must be done by a certified arborist, the tree itself has to be certified, and the deduction can be claimed only every third year.
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HNN: New study names Hawaii one of the ‘least tax-friendly states’ in the nation