Property tax bill would raise exemptions
Property tax exemptions would rise for the first time since 2006 under a bill introduced last week by Honolulu Councilwoman Heidi Tsuneyoshi.
Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser!
You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription.
Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story.
Property tax exemptions would rise for the first time since 2006
under a bill introduced last week by Honolulu Councilwoman Heidi Tsuneyoshi.
Under the bill, the homeowner of an $880,000 house would pay $70 less annually than currently, assuming the tax rate stays the same.
Bill 3 would raise the standard home exemption, eligible on properties where the owner is also the occupant, to $100,000 from the current $80,000. The exemption last was increased in 2006, when
it went to $80,000 from $40,000, said Tsuneyoshi, who represents District 2 (Mililani Mauka to Kahaluu).
The bill also calls for the standard senior home exemption, eligible on properties where the owner-occupant is at least 65 years old, to rise to $140,000 from the current $120,000.
Tsuneyoshi said it’s time for the city to at least have a conversation about increasing exemptions. While the rate for owner-occupants has remained at $3.50 per $1,000 of valuation for a number of years, the rise in sales prices has led to higher assessed values and, as a result, higher property tax bills, she said.
“Homeowners are paying a lot more based on the value of their homes,” Tsuneyoshi said.
The city’s formula for calculating property tax bills involves multiplying the value of a property by the tax rate as set by the Council each June.
Exemptions help owner-occupants bring down the taxable property value. The current $80,000 exemption would bring the taxable value
of the $880,000 home to $800,000, resulting in a bill of $2,800.
Under Tsuneyoshi’s plan the $880,000 house would be taxed on $780,000 of value, resulting in a bill of $2,730.
She said the spike in valuations is more pronounced in some of the neighborhoods she represents — the Real Property Assessment Division reported last month that the North Shore, which Tsuneyoshi represents, saw a jump of 10 percent in the past year, nearly double the 5.4 percent increase experienced elsewhere on Oahu. Real estate experts say the growth in the number of bed-and-breakfast establishments and transient vacation units in the North Shore region is at least partly to blame.
The impact on the city revenue stream is unclear, Tsuneyoshi said, but she believes the higher valuations will boost current property tax collections higher regardless.
A spokesman for Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s administration said city budget officials are studying the bill.
The bill is expected
to be given its first airing before the Council on