Property tax bill could help some Oahu homeowners


Council member Heidi Tsuneyoshi has a plan to help bring tax relief to Oahu’s overburdened residents.

Bill 3 would increase the basic property tax exemption from $80,000 to $100,000. 

“A lot of our homeowners have expressed concerns about their homes being valued at increasing and increasing values so although the tax rates haven’t gone up, they see extreme increases in the taxes that they’re paying,” Councilmember Tsuneyoshi said. 

The last time the property tax exemption increased was back in 2006, when it went from $40,000 to what it is today. 

She said the average increase to the values of homes last year increased 5%. 

“In different areas in our district, such as North Shore, they’ve seen a 10% increase in the values of their home , so without any tax increases they’ve seen a very big increase on their tax bills which this bill is looking to address,” she said. 

Tod Marcus, founder of Tax Services Oahu, helped break down the numbers. 

“For people that live in their homes and qualify for the exemption they pay usually about $3.50 for every $1,000 the value of their home,” he said. 

He showed an example for an $800,000 home. 

“Instead of being taxed on $800,000 you’d be taxed on $700,000,” he said.

“For taxpayers who qualify for the exemption—if it was increased by $20,000, the amount of property tax they would pay would reduce by about $70,” he said. 

The exemption would also increase $20,000 for seniors 65-years-old and older, from $120,000 to $140,000. 

So how would the new bill affect the city’s revenue?

“Due to the increasing values of our properties the city is seeing increases in our revenues,” Tsuneyoshi said. 

She says all the development has also helped push the property value numbers up. 

“I believe this is a good time to talk about providing some relief to our homeowners so they can see some benefit from the increase in development and also see some relief from the valuation continuing to go up without seeing a relief on their taxes,” she said.  

If approved, the bill was go into effect July 1, 2020. 

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