Saturday, October 24, 2020
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Sunday, August 12, 2018
Weekends Safe from Cackling Lawyers?
By Tom Yamachika @ 5:00 AM :: 2918 Views :: Honolulu County, Ethics, Taxes

Weekends Safe Once Again, Maybe

by Tom Yamachika, President Tax Foundation Hawaii

Back in 2014, we wrote in this space about a nasty Honolulu City & County rule involving real property tax appeals. That rule said that if you as a property owner didn’t like your real property tax assessment and you wanted to appeal it, the appeal had better be in by January 15th. It didn’t matter if the government was open on January 15th. If the appeal came in after the 15th, the appeal would be late, and the City would have it dismissed.

Along comes a taxpayer, Kalaeloa Ventures, LLC. It wanted to file fourteen different real property tax appeals against the City taxing authorities. However, it wasn’t quite ready to file on Friday, January 13, 2017. (How unlucky!) The government closed for the weekend, which included Sunday, January 15th and Monday, January 16th, which was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. It reopened for business on Tuesday, January 17th, and the taxpayer filed Notices of Appeal to the Tax Appeal Court in all fourteen cases.

Cackling with glee, City attorneys marched straight to Tax Appeal Court and asked the court to throw out all fourteen appeals. “Tsk, tsk. Late,” they said. “The court doesn’t have jurisdiction over late appeals.”

“Wait a minute,” the taxpayer said. “There’s a state statute, HRS section 1-32, allowing acts that are legally required to be performed on a particular date to be done the next business day when the deadline day is a Sunday or a holiday.” Under that statute, we’re good to go.”

“No, you’re not,” the City contended. “Our tax appeal ordinance, section 8-12.1, specifically says that the appeal must be in on or before January 15. The City also has an ordinance regarding due dates on a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday, namely section 8-1.16, and that ordinance specifically does not apply to tax appeals. So, a tax appeal must be in by January 15 whether the City government offices are open or not.”

“But you forgot one thing,” said the taxpayer. “The tax appeal court is a state court. It deals with appeals from all the different counties. The law governing state court procedure is state law. There is no state exception for property tax appeals. Therefore, the appeal was on time!”

“Absolutely not!” huffed the City attorney, with a noticeably quickening pulse. “The Hawaii Constitution expressly says, ‘all functions, powers and duties relating to the taxation of real property shall be exercised exclusively by the counties.’ All functions, powers and duties mean we, not the State, get to specify not only the property tax system, but also the procedure surrounding it. So, the state statutes are trumped by the property tax ordinances when it comes to property tax!”

This dispute then played out through the court system. The Tax Appeal Court thought the City had the better of the argument and tossed out the appeals. The taxpayer appealed the dismissals, and the arguments were made before the Supreme Court of Hawaii.

On July 27, 2018, the Supreme Court of Hawaii issued its decision. Apparently, the court couldn’t stomach the thought of having a state court subject to numerous procedural rules created by each county, and that the state statutes and court rules creating the court would have questionable validity because they would not be exercised exclusively by the counties. Judgment for the Taxpayer!

A word of caution: This decision might not apply when real property tax appeals are made to the Board of Review, which is a county creation, as opposed to the Tax Appeal Court, which is part of the state judiciary. To prevent taxpayer confusion, we hope that the counties won’t be too “hard head” about this and allow the weekend rule to apply across the board.


TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


808 Silent Majority

ACA Signups Hawaii


Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni


Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Astronomy Hawaii

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii

Blaisdell Memorial Project

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

Coffee Break

DVids Hawaii

E Hana Kakou Kelii Akina


Fix Oahu!

Follow the Money Hawaii

Frank in Hawaii

Front Page Magazine

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

Heritage Foundation



Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

I Vote Hawaii

If Hawaii News

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

Iowa Meets Maui

Jackson v Abercrombie

Jihad Watch

July 4 in Hawaii

Kahle v New Hope

Kakaako Cares

Kau TEA Party

Kauai Co GOP

Keep Hawaii's Heroes


Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group

Middle East Forum--The Legal Project

Mililani Conservatives for Change

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

Muslim Brotherhood in America

NAMI Hawaii


National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

National Wind Watch

New Hawaiian

New Zeal

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Northwest Economic Policy Seminar

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

Now What I Really Think

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

ObamaCare Abortion Hawaii


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Pacific Aviation Museum

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii


Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Republican Party -- Hawaii State

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Save Dillingham Airfield

School Choice in Hawaii

Sink the Jones Act

Statehood for Guam

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

UCC Truths

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

VAREP Honolulu

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii