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Tom Yamachika

Tom Yamachika
Tom Yamachika is the President of the Tax Foundation of Hawaii, a private, nonprofit educational organization dedicated to informing the taxpaying public about the finances of our state and local governments in Hawaii. Tom is also a tax attorney in solo practice and has been since early 2013. Prior to 2013, he was with the accounting firm Accuity LLP, which was formed in 2006 from the Honolulu office of Coopers & Lybrand (which later became PricewaterhouseCoopers). Before that, he served as an Administrative Rules Specialist in the State of Hawaii Department of Taxation from 1994 to 1996, where he drafted rules, interpretive releases, and legislation on several different state taxes. Prior to that, he practiced litigation and tax law with Cades Schutte Fleming & Wright in Honolulu.

TAXWatch: Thirty Years of State Tax, Part 2

Q :  We continue our series on the past 30 years of state tax with our researcher, the Hawaii State Tax Watch Doggie’s wife. Watch Doggie:  And me! A:  Oh!  So you finally finished barking at the garbage truck? Q:  We’ve been talking about the taxes that have ballooned over the years. Doggie:  And next on our list is conveyance …

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TAXWatch: The Fight Over Honolulu Vacation Rentals Begins

T he fight over short-term rentals in Honolulu has entered another phase. On June 25, 2019, Honolulu Mayor Caldwell signed into law Ordinance 2019-18, formerly known as Bill 89.  The law took effect on August 1, 2019.  Basically, if you want to operate short-term (less than 30 days) vacation rentals, either “bed and breakfast homes” where the owner also occupies …

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TAXWatch: Thirty Years of State Tax, Part 1

Q:  The number 30 has been in the news a lot these days because of the telescope that’s supposed to be getting built on the Big Island.  This week, we’re going to look at the past 30 years of state tax. To help me is our intrepid researcher, the Hawaii State Tax Watch Doggie’s wife. A:  Glad to be here. …

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TAXWatch: Loophole? On the Way to the Top

O n Wednesday, August 14, the Senate Committee on Hawaiian Affairs held an “informational briefing” so senators could question the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands over various topics, including on “Mauna Kea Access Road (ACT 14).” The Star-Advertiser summarized the issue:  “About 50 years ago, the Department of Transportation built Mauna Kea Access Road over Department of Hawaiian Home Lands …

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TAXWatch: Soft on Crime – Because of the Money

In the news recently was a stunning announcement by Justin Kollar, who is the Kauai County Prosecutor.  State law says that for folks driving without a license or driving without insurance, heavier fines and more jail time apply to repeat offenders.  He said that he has decided to prosecute all cases under his watch as first-time offender cases, no matter …

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TAXWatch: Withholding, the Root of All Evil?

W ithholding is making someone who isn’t liable for tax, but who pays money to someone who is, responsible for collecting and paying the tax to the government.  Employers, for example, must withhold federal and state income taxes out of wages paid to their employees.  The government also makes the buyer withhold taxes on big property sales. The federal government …

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TAXWatch: A Veil of Secrecy Around Revenue Estimates

In this week’s article, we spotlight yet another attempt by a government agency to shroud its operations in the shadows. During any legislative session, our Department of Taxation furnishes a very important service to our legislators. It provides revenue estimates on various bills going through the legislative process. Sometimes it includes in its public testimony the end result—the bill will …

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TAXWatch: The Special Land and Development Fund

In this week’s spotlight is the Special Land and Development Fund or SLDF, which is administered by the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR).  Into that fund goes all land rents the State receives for land that is either leased or used under a revocable permit (such as those used by airport or harbor-based businesses).  The fund is also …

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TAXWatch: So What Really Is a Resort Fee?

It’s July 2019, and already we are starting to see laws passed in the 2019 Legislature take effect.  One of these laws concerns “resort fees” that hotels both here and in other states and countries have been charging their guests.  A resort fee is supposed to be a payment for amenities provided to guests of the hotel.  But some hotels …

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