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Hawaii Consumer Tax Laws

While most are worried about our big income tax filing every spring, we may not be giving as much thought to the taxes we pay on purchases every day. Most states also charge taxes on consumer goods -- everything from new cars to the gas on which they run. This is a quick introduction to consumer tax laws in Hawaii.

Consumer Tax Statutes in Hawaii

State consumer tax laws can apply to everything you purchase, although the rate may vary depending on what you’re buying. Most states charge higher rates for products that are considered unhealthy or non-essential, like tobacco and alcohol. The Aloha State’s base sales tax rate is 4%. Hawaii’s consumer tax statutes are listed below.

Sales Tax

4%

Hawaii Revised Statutes 237-13: Imposition of Tax

Cigarette Tax

6.5¢/cigarette

Hawaii Revised Statutes 245-3: Cigarette and Tobacco Taxes

Gasoline Tax per Gallon

16¢ + additional county rates

Hawaii Revised Statutes 243-4, et seq.: Fuel Tax

Use Tax

4%

Hawaii Revised Statutes 238-1, et seq.: Use Tax

Liquor Tax

Draft beer 54¢ /gal.;

Bottle beer 93¢ per gal.;

Still wine $1.38/gal.;

Sparkling wine $2.12/gal.;

Spirits $5.98/gal.

(rates adjusted semiannually)

Hawaii Revised Statutes 244D-1, et seq.: Liquor Tax

Gambling Tax

NA

(Under the tax code, the term "mills" means one one-thousandth of a dollar, so 10 mills = 10 one-thousandths of a dollar, or .01¢.)

Consumer Use Taxes

If you’re thinking you can avoid Hawaii’s sales tax by purchasing items online, you should be aware that state law says you must pay a “use tax” for any goods or services delivered to or used in the state of Hawaii. (This only applies if you haven’t already paid the seller’s own out-of-state sales tax.) Hawaii’s use tax rate is also 4% and must be applied:

  • If you purchase taxable property or services by phone, from catalogs, or on the Internet, and the property or services are delivered into Hawaii;
  • If you purchase taxable property from a seller who is located outside of Hawaii and the property is delivered into or used in Hawaii; or
  • If you send or take property out of Hawaii, have a taxable service performed on that property, and then have the property shipped or bring it back into Hawaii.

Related Resources for Consumer Tax Laws in Hawaii

State tax laws can be some of the most complicated on the books. You can consult with an experienced Hawaii tax attorney in your area if you would like legal help with a consumer tax matter. And FindLaw’s sections on Hawaii Tax Laws and Tax Laws and Forms can provide you with further reading and resources on this topic.

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