HAWAII REVISED STATUTES
USE TAX LAW
(Updated September 15, 1997)
238-1 DEFINITIONS, GENERALLY
238-2 IMPOSITION OF TAX; EXEMPTIONS
238-2.5 COUNTY GENERAL EXCISE AND USE TAX SURCHARGE; ADMINISTRATION
238-3 APPLICATION OF TAX, ETC.
238-4 CERTAIN PROPERTY USED BY PRODUCERS
238-6 COLLECTION OF TAX BY SELLER; PENALTY
238-7 AUDITS; ADDITIONAL ASSESSMENTS; REFUNDS
238-8 APPEAL, CORRECTION OF ASSESSMENT
238-9.5 REPORT BY DEALERS
238-11 COLLECTION OF TAXES BY ASSUMPSIT OR DISTRAINT; CONCURRENT JURISDICTION OF DISTRICT JUDGES
238-13 OTHER PROVISIONS OF GENERAL EXCISE TAX LAW APPLICABLE
238-14 TAXES STATE REALIZATIONS
238-15 SHORT TITLE
238-16 RULES AND REGULATIONS
HRS Section 238-1 Definitions, generally.
Whenever used in this chapter, unless otherwise required by the context:
"General excise tax law" means chapter 237, as amended from time to time.
"Import" (or any nounal, verbal, adverbial, adjective, or other equivalent of the term) includes importation into the State from any other part of the United States or its possessions or from any foreign country, whether in interstate or foreign commerce, or both.
"Person", "business", "engaging in business", "retailer", "wholesaler", "jobber", and "contractor" have the meanings defined by chapter 237.
"Price" means the total amount for which tangible personal property is purchased, valued in money, whether paid in money or other-wise, and wheresoever paid, provided that cash discounts allowed and taken on sales shall not be included.
"Property" means tangible personal property, but does not include newspapers or other periodical publications purchased on the subscription plan, issued at stated intervals as frequently as four times a year, and of the class admitted to the United States mails as second class matter under the laws and regulations governing the postal service on January 1, 1965.
"Purchase" and "sale" mean and refer to any transfer, exchange, or barter, conditional or otherwise, in any manner or by any means, wheresoever consummated, of tangible personal property for a consideration.
"Purchaser" means any person purchasing property and "importer" means any person importing property; provided that the terms "purchaser" and "importer" shall not include the State, its political subdivisions, or wholly owned agencies or instrumentalities of the State or a political subdivision; or the United States, its wholly owned agencies or instrumentalities, or any person immune from the tax imposed by this chapter under the Constitution and laws of the United States but the terms shall include national banks.
"Representation" refers to any or all of the following:
(1) A seller being present in the State;
(2) A seller having in the State a salesperson, commission agent, manufacturer's representative, broker, or other person who is authorized or employed by the seller to assist the seller in selling property for use or consumption in the State, by procuring orders for the sales, making Collections or deliveries, or otherwise; and
(3) A seller having in the State a person upon whom process directed to the seller from the courts of the State may be served, including the director of commerce and consumer affairs and the deputy director in the cases provided in section 415-14.
"Seller" means any person engaged in the business of selling tangible personal property, wheresoever engaged, but does not include the United States or its wholly owned agencies or instrumentalities other than national banks, the State or a political subdivision thereof, or wholly owned agencies or instrumentalities of the State or a political subdivision.
"Unlicensed seller" means any seller who, with respect to the particular sale, is not subject to the tax imposed by chapter 237, whether or not the seller holds a license under that chapter, but does not include any seller with respect to any sale which is expressly exempted from the tax imposed by chapter 237.
"Use" (and any nounal, verbal,, adjective, adverbial, and other equivalent form of the term) herein used interchangeably means any use, whether the use is of such nature as to cause the property to be appreciably consumed or not, or the keeping of the property for such use or for sale, and shall include the exercise of any right or power over tangible personal property incident to the ownership of that property, but the term use" shall not include:
(1) Temporary use of property, not of a perishable or quickly consumable nature, where the property is imported into the State for temporary use (not sale) therein by the person importing the same and is not intended to be, and is not, kept permanently in the State (as for example without limiting the generality of the foregoing language: (A) in the case of a contractor importing permanent equipment for the performance of a construction contract, with intent to remove, and who does remove, the equipment out of the State upon completing the contract; (B) in the case of moving picture films imported for use in theaters in the State with intent or under contract to transport the same out of the State after completion of such use; (C) in the case of a transient visitor importing an automobile or other belongings into the State to be used by the transient visitor while therein but which are to be used and are removed upon the transient visitor's departure from the State).
(2) Use by the taxpayer of property acquired by the taxpayer solely by way of gift.
(3) Use which is limited to the receipt of articles and the return thereof, to the person from whom acquired, immediately or within a reasonable time either after temporary trial or without trial.
(4) Use of goods imported into the State by the owner of a vessel or vessels engaged in interstate or foreign commerce and held for and used only as ship stores for the vessels.
(5) The use or keeping for use of household goods, personal effects, and private automobiles imported into the State for nonbusiness use by a person who (A) acquired them in another state, territory, district, or country, (B) at the time of the acquisition was a bona fide resident of another state, territory, district, or country, (C) acquired the property for use outside the State, and (D) made actual and substantial use thereof outside this State; provided that as to an article acquired less than three months prior to the time of its importation into the State it shall be presumed, until and unless clearly proved to the contrary, that it was acquired for use in the State and that its use outside the State was not actual and substantial.
(6) The leasing or renting of any aircraft or the keeping of any aircraft solely for leasing or renting to lessees or renters using the aircraft for commercial transportation of passengers and goods.
(7) The use of oceangoing vehicles for passenger or passenger and goods transportation from one point to another within the State as a public utility as defined in chapter 269.
With regard to purchases made and distributed under the authority of chapter 421 or under the authority of the Fish Marketing Act under chapter 422, a cooperative association shall be deemed the user thereof.
"Value" means fair and reasonable cash value at the time of accrual of the tax.
- - - - -
HRS Section 238-2 Imposition of tax; exemptions.
There is hereby levied an excise tax on the use in this State of tangible personal property which is imported. or purchased from an unlicensed seller, for use in this State. The tax imposed by this chapter shall accrue when the property is acquired by the importer or purchaser and becomes subject to the taxing jurisdiction of the State. The rates of the tax hereby imposed and the exemptions thereof are as follows:
(1) If the importer or purchaser is licensed under chapter 237 and is (A) a wholesaler or jobber importing or purchasing for purposes of resale, or (B) a manufacturer importing or purchasing material or commodities which are to be incorporated by the manufacturer into a finished or saleable product (including the container or package in which the product is contained) wherein it will remain in such form as to be perceptible to the senses, and which finished or saleable product is to be sold in such manner as to result in a further tax on the activity of the manufacturer as the manufacturer or as a wholesaler, and not as a retailer, there shall be no tax, provided that if the wholesaler, jobber, or manufacturer is also engaged in business as a retailer (so classed under chapter 237), paragraph (2) shall apply to the wholesaler, jobber, or manufacturer, but the director of taxation shall refund to the wholesaler, jobber, or manufacturer, in the manner provided under section 231-23(c) such amount of tax as the wholesaler, jobber, or manufacturer shall, to the satisfaction of the director, establish to have been paid by the wholesaler, jobber, or manufacturer to the director with respect to property which has been used by the wholesaler, jobber, or manufacturer for the purposes stated in this paragraph.
(2) If the importer or purchaser is licensed under chapter 237 and is (A) a retailer or other person importing or purchasing for purposes of resale, not exempted by paragraph (1), or (B) a manufacturer importing or purchasing material or commodities which are to be incorporated by the manufacturer into a finished or saleable product (including the container or package in which the product is contained) wherein it win remain in such form as to be perceptible to the senses, and which finished or saleable product is to be sold at retail in this State, in such manner as to result in a further tax on the activity of the manufacturer in selling such products at retail, or (C) a contractor importing or purchasing material or commodities which are to be incorporated by the contractor into the finished work or project required by the contract and which will remain in such finished work or project in such form as to be perceptible to the senses, the tax shall be one-half of one per cent of the purchase price of the property, if the purchase and sale are consummated in Hawaii; or, if there is no purchase price applicable thereto, or if the purchase or sale is consummated outside of Hawaii, then one-half of one per cent of the value of such property.
(3) In all other cases, four per cent of the value of the property.
- - - - -
HRS Section 238-2.5 County general excise and use tax surcharge; administration.
(a) The county general excise and use tax surcharge, upon the adoption of a county ordinance under section 46-16.7, shall be levied, assessed, and collected as provided in this section on the value of property taxable under this chapter at the four per cent tax rate under section 238-2(3) in a manner that the combined state use tax and the county general excise and use tax surcharge shall be four and one-half per cent in those counties adopting the surcharge. All provisions of this chapter shall apply to the county general excise and use tax surcharge. With respect to the surcharge, the director shall have all the rights and powers provided under this chapter. In addition, the director of taxation shall have the exclusive rights and power to determine the county or counties in which a person imports or purchases tangible personal property and, in the case of a person importing or purchasing tangible property in more than one county, the director shall determine through apportionment or other means, that portion of the general excise and use tax surcharge attributable to the importation or purchase in each county.
(b) Each county general excise and use tax surcharge shall be levied as of January 1, 1993, and shall continue for a period of ten years through December 31, 2002, or until earlier repealed.
(c) No county general excise and use tax surcharge shall be established upon any use taxable under this chapter at the one-half per cent tax rate or upon any use that is not subject to taxation or that is exempt from taxation under this chapter.
(d) The director of taxation shall revise the use tax forms to provide for the clear and separate designation of the imposition and payment of the county general excise and use tax surcharge.
The taxpayer shall designate the taxation district to which the county general excise and use tax surcharge is assigned in accordance with rules adopted by the director of taxation under chapter 91. The taxpayer shall file a schedule with the taxpayer's periodic and annual general excise and use tax returns summarizing the amount of taxes assigned to each taxation district.
The penalties provided by section 231-39 for failure to file a tax return shall be imposed on the amount of surcharge due on the return being filed for the failure to file the schedule required to accompany the return. In addition, there shall be added to the tax an amount equal to ten per cent of the amount of the surcharge and tax due on the return being filed for the failure to file the schedule or the failure to correctly report the assignment of the use tax by taxation district on the schedule required under this subsection.
(e) All taxpayers who file on a fiscal year basis whose fiscal year ends after December 31, 1992, or after December 31, 2002, shall file a short period annual return for the period preceding January 1, 1993, or preceding January 1, 2003. Each fiscal year taxpayer shall also file a short period annual return for the period starting after December 31, 1992, and ending before January 1, 1994, and for the period starting after December 31, 2002, and ending before January 1, 2004.
All monthly, annual, and amended returns due under this chapter for any period preceding January 1, 2003, which are submitted to the department after December 31, 2002, shall include in payments submitted with the return any county general excise and use tax surcharge that may be due for the period preceding January 1, 2003.
- - - - -
HRS Section 238-3 Application of tax, etc.
(a) The tax imposed by this chapter shall not apply to any property, or to any use of the property, which cannot legally be so taxed under the Constitution or laws of the United States, but only so long as, and only to the extent to which the State is without power to impose the tax.
Any provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding, exemptions or exclusions from tax under this chapter allowed on or before April 1, 1978 under the provisions of the Constitution of the United States or an act of the Congress of the United States to persons or common carriers engaged in interstate or foreign commerce, or both, whether ocean-going or air, shall continue undiminished and be available thereafter.
(b) The tax imposed by this chapter shall not apply to any use of property the transfer of which property to, or the acquisition of which by, the person so using the same, has actually been or actually is taxed under chapter 237.
(c) The tax imposed by this chapter shall be paid only once upon or in respect of the same property; provided that nothing in this chapter contained shall be construed to exempt any property or the use thereof from taxation under any other law of the State.
(d) The tax imposed by this chapter shall be in addition to any other taxes imposed by any other laws of the State, except as otherwise specifically provided herein; provided that if it be finally held by any court of competent jurisdiction, that the tax imposed by this chapter may not legally be imposed in addition to any other tax or taxes imposed by any other law or laws with respect to the same property or the use thereof, then this chapter shall be deemed not to apply to the property and the use thereof under such specific circumstances, but such other laws shall be given full effect with respect to the property and use.
(e) The tax imposed by this chapter shall not apply to any use of property
exempted by section 238-4.
(f) The tax imposed by this chapter shall not apply to any use or consumption of aircraft and vessels, the transfer of which aircraft or vessel to, or the acquisition of which by, the person so using or consuming the same, or the rental for the use of the aircraft or vessel, has actually been or actually is taxed under chapter 237.
(g) The tax imposed by this chapter shall not apply to any intoxicating liquor as defined in chapter 244D and cigarettes and tobacco products as defined in chapter 245, imported into the State and sold to any person or common carrier in interstate commerce, whether ocean-going or air, for consumption out-of-state by the person, crew, or passengers on the shipper's vessels or airplanes.
(h) The tax imposed by this chapter shall not apply to any use of vessels constructed under section 189-25 prior to July 1, 1969.
(i) Each taxpayer liable for the tax imposed by this chapter on tangible personal property shall be entitled to full credit for the combined amount or amounts of legally imposed sales or use taxes paid by the taxpayer with respect to the same transaction and property to another state and any subdivision thereof, but such credit shall not exceed the amount of the use tax imposed under this chapter on account of the transaction and property. The director of taxation may require the taxpayer to produce the necessary receipts or vouchers indicating the payment of the sales or use tax to another state or subdivision as a condition for the allowance of the credit.
(j) The tax imposed by this chapter shall not apply to any use of property exempted by section 237-26 or section 237-29.
(k) The tax imposed by this chapter shall not apply to any use of air pollution control facility exempted by section 237-27.5.
- - - - -
HRS Section 238-4 Certain property used by producers.
If a licensed producer, or a cooperative association acting under the authority of chapter 421 or 422, in order to sell to such producer, or a licensed person, imports into the State or acquires in the State commodities, materials, items, services, or living things enumerated in section 237-4(3) and (5) to (7), then section 237-4 shall apply. If section 237-4 applies and the producer is engaged in the sale of the producer's products at retail or in any manner other than at wholesale, then the tax upon use of property in the State imposed by section 238-2(2) shall apply the same as in the case of a purchaser who is a licensed retailer. In other such cases no tax shall be imposed under this chapter.
- - - - -
HRS Section 238-5 Returns.
(a) On or before the last day of each calendar month, any person who has become liable for the payment of a tax under this chapter during the preceding calendar month in respect of any property or the use thereof, shall file a return with the assessor of the taxation district in which the property was held when the tax first became payable, or with the director of taxation at Honolulu, setting forth a description of the property and the character and quantity thereof in sufficient detail to identify the same or otherwise in such reasonable detail as the director by rule shall require, and the purchase price or value thereof as the case may be. The return shall be accompanied by a remittance in full of the tax, computed at the rate specified in section 238-2 upon the price or value so returned. Any tax remaining unpaid after the last day following the end of the calendar month during which the tax first became payable shall become delinquent; provided that a receipt from a seller required or authorized to collect the tax, given to a taxpayer in accordance with section 238-6, shall be sufficient to relieve the taxpayer from further liability for the tax to which the receipt may refer, or for the return thereof.
(b) Notwithstanding subsection (a), a taxpayer may be eligible to file the taxpayer's return required under this section and make payments thereon on a quarterly or semiannual basis during the calendar or fiscal year, the return and payment to be made on or before the last day of the calendar month after the close of each quarter or semiannual period, to wit:
(1) For calendar year taxpayers filing on a quarterly basis, on or before April 30, July 3 1, October 31, and January 31;
(2) For calendar year taxpayers filing on a semiannual basis, on or before July 31, and January 31;
(3) For fiscal year taxpayers filing on a quarterly basis, on or before the last day of the fourth month, seventh month, and tenth month following the beginning of the fiscal year and on or before the last day of the month following the close of the fiscal year; or
(4) For fiscal year taxpayers filing on a semiannual basis, on or before the last day of the seventh month following the beginning of the fiscal year and on or before the last day of the month following the close of the fiscal year;
if the taxpayer possesses a valid and current permit to file the taxpayer's general excise tax return and to make payments thereon on a quarterly or semiannual basis issued by the director pursuant to section 237-30. A taxpayer may also be eligible to make monthly payments based on the taxpayer's estimated quarterly or semiannual liability with a reconciliation return at the end of each quarter or semiannual period during the calendar or fiscal year, as heretofore provided, if the taxpayer possesses a valid and current permit to file quarterly or semiannual reconciliation general excise tax returns and to make monthly payments, issued by the director pursuant to section 237-30.
(c) On or before the twentieth day of the fourth month following the close of the taxable year, every person who has become liable for the payment of taxes both under this chapter and also under chapter 237 during the preceding calendar or fiscal year shall file a return summarizing the person's liability under this chapter for the taxable year, in such form as the director shall prescribe and shall file it with the person's annual return of general excise taxes.
- - - - -
HRS Section 238-6 Collection of tax by seller; penalty.
(a) For purposes of the taxes due under sections 238-2(3) and 238-2.5, every seller having in the State, regularly or intermittently, any property, tangible or intangible, any place of business, or any representation as hereinabove defined, (and irrespective of the seller's having or not having qualified to do business in the State) shall, if the seller makes sales of property for use in the State (whether or not the sales are made in the State) collect from the purchaser the taxes imposed by sections 238-2(3) and 238-2.5 on the use of the property so sold by the seller. The collection shall be made within twenty days after the accrual of the tax or within such other period as shall be fixed by the director of taxation upon the application of the seller, and the seller shall give to the purchaser a receipt therefor in the manner and form prescribed by the director; provided that this subsection shall not apply to vehicles registered under section 286-50.
(b) The director, in the director's discretion, upon application therefor and under terms and conditions prescribed by the director, may relieve any seller of the duty of collecting and paying over the tax imposed by subsection (a) above, if the director is satisfied that the tax can be effectively collected by other means. Exemption from the duty of collecting the tax may be canceled at any time when the director finds that the tax cannot be effectively collected by other means. The director likewise may terminate the duty and authority of any seller to collect and pay over the tax imposed by subsection (a) above if the director finds, as to such seller, that the tax cannot be effectively collected by such means.
(c) The director, in the director's discretion, upon application therefor and under terms and conditions prescribed by the director, may authorize the collection of the tax imposed by this chapter by a seller not otherwise required to collect the tax. The seller, when so authorized, shall have the duty of collecting and paying over the tax in the same manner and subject to the same requirements as set out in subsection (a). The authority may be canceled at any time when, in the judgment of the director, the tax can more effectively be collected by other means.
(d) In case any seller required or authorized to collect the tax under this chapter fails to collect the same, or having collected the tax fails to pay over the same as provided by this chapter, the seller shall nevertheless be personally liable to the State for the amount of the tax, but it shall be a defense to such liability that the indebtedness for the price is a worthless account actually charged off for income tax purposes, if and to the extent that the collections of the price do not equal the tax.
(e) Every seller required or authorized to collect the tax shall make returns and payments of the tax at the same time and in the same manner as is provided with respect to taxpayer by section 238-5. All provisions of this chapter with respect to returns, reports, records, payments, penalties, and interest, appeals, investigations, and audits, assessments, tax collections procedure, criminal offenses, and the general administrative powers and duties of the director, shall apply to such sellers the same as to taxpayers.
(f) The tax collected pursuant to this section shall be held in trust for the State and for payment to the proper collecting officer in the manner and at the time required by this chapter. Any person collecting such tax who appropriates or converts the same to the person's own use or to any use other than the payment of the tax as herein provided, and who fails to pay over the amount of tax so collected at the time required by this chapter, shall be deemed guilty of an embezzlement of property of the State and shall be fined more than five times the amount of money so embezzled or imprisoned at hard labor not more than ten years, and any failure by the person so collecting the tax to pay the same over within the time provided by this chapter, after demand therefor, shall be taken and held to be prima facie evidence of the embezzlement.
- - - - -
HRS Section 238-7 Audits; additional assessments; refunds.
Sections 237-36 to 237-40 of the general excise tax law are hereby made applicable to the taxes imposed by this chapter, to the refunding of overpayments thereof, and to assessments, investigations, and audits in connection therewith, for which purpose any references therein to "gross income" or "gross proceeds of sale" shall be deemed to refer to the purchase price or value, as the case may be, subject to tax under this chapter, and any references to the "annual return" shall, if the taxpayer is not required to file an annual return under this chapter, be deemed to refer to the monthly return mentioned in the first paragraph of section 238-5.
- - - - -
HRS Section 238-8 Appeal, correction of assessment.
If any person having made the return and paid the tax as provided by this chapter feels aggrieved by the assessment so made upon the person by the director of taxation, the person may, provided the tax so assessed shall have been paid, appeal the assessment in the manner and within the time and in all other respects as provided in section 235-114, for which purpose the word "income" shall be deemed to refer to purchase price or value, as the case may be. The hearing and disposition of the appeal, including the distribution of costs and of taxes paid pending the appeal, shall be as provided in chapter 232.
- - - - -
HRS Section 238-9 Records.
Every person who is engaged in any business in the State and who is required under this chapter to make returns, shall keep in the English language in the State and preserve for a period of three years, books of account or other records in sufficient detail to enable the director of taxation, as far as reasonably practicable, to determine whether or not any taxes imposed by this chapter are payable in respect of the property concerned, and if so payable, the amount thereof.
- - - - -
HRS Section 238-9.5 Report by dealers.
Every dealer, as defined in section 437-1.1, shall submit a report to the director, on or before the last day of each calendar month, for all motor vehicles delivered by the dealer in the prior month as a courtesy delivery. The report shall contain the name and address of the dealer making the courtesy delivery, name and address of the seller of the vehicle, type of motor vehicle, the landed value of the vehicle, the name and address of the purchaser or importer, the date of importation, and other information relevant to the courtesy delivery as requested by the director.
As used in this section, "courtesy delivery" means the preparation for delivery and the delivery by a dealer of a motor vehicle imported into the State by a person who purchased the motor vehicle from an out-of-state motor vehicle manufacturer or an out-of-state dealer and does not apply to motor vehicles sold by the in-state dealer.
- - - - -
HRS Section 238-10 Penalties.
Penalties and interest shall be added to and become a part of the tax, when and as provided by section 231-39.
- - - - -
HRS Section 238-11 Collection of taxes by assumpsit or distraint; concurrent jurisdiction of district judges.
Any tax which is delinquent under this chapter may be collected:
(1) By action in the name of the director of taxation or any collector or assistant collector of taxes, in assumpsit, with or without attachment of the real or personal property of the person liable, and it shall be unnecessary, in order to secure the issuance of the writ of attachment, for the officer bringing the action to file any affidavit, other than the usual sworn complaint in ordinary assumpsit actions where no attachment is sought, with a prayer for the writ- In all such actions the several district judges shall have concurrent jurisdiction with the circuit courts, irrespective of the amount claimed.
(2) By distraint in the manner provided by section 231-25.
- - - - -
HRS Section 238-12 Repealed.
- - - - -
HRS Section 238-13 Other provisions of general excise tax law applicable.
In respect of (1) the examination of books and records and of taxpayers and other persons, (2) procedure and powers upon failure or refusal by a taxpayer to make a return or a proper return, and (3) the general administration of this chapter, the director of taxation shall have all the rights and powers conferred upon the director by the general excise tax law with respect to taxes thereby or thereunder imposed; and, without restriction upon these rights and powers, sections 237-8, 237-30, and 237-36 to 237-41 are hereby made applicable to and with respect to the taxes and the taxpayers, tax officers, and other persons, and the matters and things affected or covered by this chapter, insofar as not inconsistent with this chapter, in the same manner, as nearly as may be, as in similar cases covered by the general excise tax law.
- - - - -
HRS Section 238-14 Taxes state realizations.
All taxes collected under this chapter shall be state realizations.
- - - - -
HRS Section 238-15 Short title.
This chapter may be cited as the "Use Tax Law".
- - - - -
HRS Section 238-16 Rules and regulations.
The director of taxation may adopt and promulgate rules and regulations to carry out the purposes of this chapter.
HAWAII LAWS (SELECTED)
Courts, Court Officers | Landlord-Tenant | Vehicles
General Excise Tax | Transient Accommodations Tax | Use Tax