Everything You Need to Know About The Hawaii General Excise Tax

QUICK LINKS 

Looking for information about the General Excise Tax? Use these links to find what you need.

  • Hawaii Tax Forms. Printable tax forms: G-45 (periodic) or G-49 (annual reconciliation).
  • Pay Hawaii taxes online. Pay your state taxes or general excise taxes online. There is a $1 electronic check fee or a variable fee for paying with a credit card.
  • Register with eHawaii. Register your business in Hawaii online.

general-excise-tax
What is that additional charge on our receipts? It’s none other than our good friend, the General Excise Tax (GET).

Updated 2/28/2019: Sorry for the issues with this page info going missing and comments not being available  — I was recently hacked and had to deal with it along with a backdoor that would reset the issue until solved.

Updated 1/28/2019: To increase site speed, I’ve had to limit the comments loaded per page to 15 comments (replies don’t count) — click “OLDER COMMENTS” to view older comments.

Updated 5/30/2018: I am slowly making updates to the article. If you post 2 or more links, your comment will be auto-marked as spam by the system. Thanks to DAVID W RISTAU CPA for helping to answer some of the questions in the comments section. There are now over 300 questions and answers — you might find your answer in the comments.

Updated 10/18/2014: I am not a CPA or affiliated with the Hawaii State Department of Tax. If you have questions about taxes, call them at 808-587-4242 or contact them. You can also contact VITA with questions, a nonprofit that helps people with tax information. Please do not contact me for detailed tax advice — everything I know about the GET is right here in this article .

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Have you ever wondered where states get their money from? Each state has their own methods (sales taxes, lottery, gambling), but for Hawaii, the biggest source of income is the General Excise Tax (GET). The tax is on gross income by businesses, meaning that part of every single business transaction goes to the state, whether it’s you buying a pack of gum at the 7-Eleven, or you constructing an office for someone.

 

Who has to pay the General Excise Tax?

Most businesses that have business transactions occur in Hawaii have to pay the GET. This applies to business that sell goods or provide services.

If you are an independent contractor, a small business owner, a freelancer, a self-employed person, or do “side gigs,” you will need to pay the excise tax, since you are considered a business. Businesses located in another state with a physical presence in Hawaii also have to pay the GET.

There are some business types who are exempt and there are some business types who have a different rate. More on this later.

 

Is the General Excise Tax a sales tax?

No, it is not. Although both have the same purpose (give money to the state), the two are a bit different. The main difference is who pays the tax. In states that have a sales tax, the tax is on consumers who buy retail goods. In those situations, business help the state by collecting the sales tax for the state. With the GET, the tax is on businesses. Furthermore, it’s not just goods getting taxed — services, wholesale goods, and rents are also taxed.

 

How much is the General Excise Tax?

The base rate for the GET is currently 4% of gross sales (as of 4/11/2013). In the City and County of Honolulu aka Oahu, the rate is 4.5%. The extra .5% for Oahu is to help pay for the mass-transit rail project on Oahu. Also, anyone conducting business on Oahu or has a “physical presence” on Oahu has to pay the extra .5%.

For example, if you’re renting out apartments in Oahu and Maui, you’ll be paying 4% GET on the Maui apartments and 4.5% on the Oahu apartments.

But why do I see 4.712% tax on my receipt on Oahu?

The answer is a bit complicated, so pay attention to this example:

You own a lunch truck. Jerry Maguire comes one day and buys a loco moco plate from you. The loco moco plate has a price of $10.

As a lunch truck business, you have 2 choices regarding the GET:

Choice 1: You pay the GET. If you choose to pay the GET, Jerry Maguire will be billed $10 and you will collect only $10 from him. When the time comes to pay your GET to the state tax department, you will pay 4.5% multiplied by your gross sales (on Oahu), which will mean you pay 45 cents of that $10 you collected.

Choice 2: You make the customer pay the GET (the common method). If you want to have Jerry Maguire pay the GET instead, you will add 4.5% to the total bill. So, the $10 loco moco should become $10.45, after tax. But you’ll still have to pay taxes out of your pocket. Why? Because the state considers the 45 cents tax you collected to be income too, so you will pay a tax on that tax you collect (confusing right?). Paying 4.5% tax on the 4.5% tax actually equals 4.7025%, but the state allows you to round up a bit and you end up with a GET rate of 4.712% of the sale amount of that plate lunch. Most businesses force customers to pay the excise tax and then the excise tax on the excise tax, so you’ll see 4.712% on your bill, not 4.5%. On outer islands (no .5% Oahu surcharge), this means a GET rate of 4.166%. Most businesses do this because it’s common and it means that they won’t have to pay GET out of their pocket, as the customers paid it already.

 

Should I make my customers pay the excise tax?

Probably.

People in Hawaii are accustomed to the tax. Furthermore, it is a surcharge, so it’s added onto the bill, but doesn’t make your sticker price higher, meaning people only see if when it comes time to pay. Furthermore, your competitors probably pass the excise tax onto customers, so if you decide to absorb the excise tax yourself, that means you’re at a financial disadvantage compared to them.

For my business, I don’t pass the GET onto my clients because it makes my accounting easier. Also, I think giving a client an invoice of $800 is much more presentable than a bill of $622.83. Round numbers also make it easier for clients to pay me with cash, which is my preferred method of payment. But really, it’s up to you.

Exception: certain industries are not allowed to charge their customers for GET, such as travel agents (see this article for more info).

 

Is it okay to pass the General Excise Tax onto my customers? How about for quotes?

As a business, you can tack on the GET onto your client or customer’s bill or invoice. This is also known as “visibly passing the tax onto the customer.” This method makes your customer pay it instead of you paying it out of the money you collect from the sale. You can also have the tax show up as a surcharge, meaning it shows up on a separate line on the bill/receipt/invoice.

Quoting: If you give quotes in your line of business like me, you can pass the GET to your customer only if you tell them or write that there is a certain % tax in addition to the quote.

Examples:

If I say, “I want to make you an awesome website! Your quote: $50,000!”
>>
 I cannot tack on GET — my bill must be for $50,000 flat.

If I say, “I want to make you an awesome website! Your quote: $50,000 plus tax!”
>> I still cannot tack on GET because I need to be specific about the rate (4%? 4.1666%? 4.5%? 4.712%?).

If I say “I want to make you an awesome website! Your quote: $50,000! (Plus 4.712% tax)”
>> Now I can tack on GET, because it is clear to the customer that they will have to pay tax in addition to the quoted amount.

 

How often do I pay the General Excise Tax? What’s a filing period?

Anywhere from every month to every 6 months – it depends on how much GET you expect to pay. The higher your expected GET, the more frequently you should pay.

If you pay this much in General Excise Taxes per year… You pay this often
less than or equal to $2000 every 6 months
more than $2000, but less than or equal to $4000 every 3 months
more than $4000 every month

Basically, the more money you make, the more often you pay, cause the state wants that tax money!

View original article

The filing period depends on when your tax year begins. Most of us use a calendar year, meaning our tax year starts on January 1st and ends on December 31st. If you pay quarterly, then that means your 4 filing periods will be January to March, April to June, July to September, and October to December.

Note: You need to also file an annual reconciliation. The G-45 is for periodic payments, as mentioned above. However, you will also need to file a G-49, an annual return and reconciliation. It’s basically a form that checks to make sure the GET you paid is accurate at the end of the year. You need to file this to let the state mark you as filed for the year.

Why do you need a reconciliation? Let’s say you sell hula skirts and had $10,000 gross sales in January. You pay your GET that quarter. But then in October, that same customer returns all the hula skirts. You then refund his money. Those $10,000 of hula skirts are no longer a sale, so you should not have to pay GET on them. However, because you already paid GET on those hula skirts, you’ve overpaid GET. So, you then can use the reconciliation to get a refund. Or you can use the reconciliation to find out that you owe more than you’ve paid for the year.

Basically, it works the same way as regular taxes: you or your employer pay taxes periodically, and then at the end of the tax year, you check to see if you owe or if you’ll get a refund.

 

When are General Excise Taxes due?

For period GET (form G-45), your taxes are due 20 days after your filing period ends (as I said before, your filing period depends on how much you make). So if your tax year starts on January 1st, your quarters end on March 31, June 30, September 30, December 31. And then your GET is due on April 20, July 20, October 20, and January 20 respectively.

Here is an example of someone who pays quarterly GET:

Event Date
Tax year starts January 1, 2013
Quarter 1 ends March 31, 2013
Quarter 1 GET due April 20, 2013
Quarter 2 ends June 30, 2013
Quarter 2 GET due July 20, 2013
Quarter 3 ends September 30, 2013
Quarter 3 GET due October 20, 2013
Quarter 4 ends December 31, 2013
Quarter 4 GET due January 20, 2014

* this is only an example, you might pay monthly or only 2x a year, depending on your gross income.

For annual reconciliation (form G-49), your taxes are due on the 3 months and 20 days after your tax year ends. So if your tax year started on January 1, 2013, it ended December 31, 2013, and so your G-49 will be due on April 20, 2014.

Event Date
2013 Tax year started January 1, 2013
2013 Tax year ended December 31, 2013
2013 G.E.T. G-49 due date April 20, 2014

 

How do I get a General Excise license and how do I pay my GE taxes?

The business and GET registration process is very easy, thanks to the state making the entire process available online. You can also do it in person or mail in your forms, but it’s much easier to do it all online.

Note: there is a $20 application + $2.50 online charge. You can pay during the online process with a credit card.

Here’s how to get your General Excise Tax license:

  1. Register your business with the state of Hawaii (link here) and you will also apply for a State Tax ID (aka your General Excise Tax License Number) along the way. You need to consider what type of business you want to register as. Sole-Proprietor and Limited Liability Corporation are common choices, but you should talk with a CPA if you want to know the pros and cons of the different choices (scroll to the bottom for my CPA recommendation). If you’re a sole proprietor, you can also apply for a trade name (aka a business alias). Make the one-time registration payment and wait for your license to come in the mail. The registration process is for the purpose of getting your tax license. If your business is already registered with the State of Hawaii but you don’t have a General Excise Tax License Number or State Tax ID, then you can simply go here, search for your business name and then apply for a license number.
  2. Register for e-filing with eHawaii.gov. This will create an online account for you to pay your General Excise taxes online with a credit card.
  3. When it comes time to pay your GET, go to eHawaii.gov’s eFile, select form G-45 (General Excise Payments),  fill in the fields, your tax liability should be calculated automatically, and pay with your credit card.
  4. The business registration directory is public. To view your listing, go to Hawaii’s Business Registration Division or Department of Taxation – Tax Licenses.
This is the tax license the state gives you. Make it visible to show your clients that you are a law-abiding and responsible business owner.
This is the tax license the state gives you. Make it visible to show your clients that you are a law-abiding and responsible business owner.

 

What if I need to make changes to my business or to my payments?

There are a lot of things that can happen to your business. Here are some forms that might be helpful.

Name of Form Why Do We Need This Form?
GEW-TA-RV1 Cancel your GET license
GEW-TA-RV5 Make changes to your license (your name, officers, filing frequency)
ITPS-COA Change of address
amended G-45 Amend/change a previous G-45 filing
amended G-49 Amend/change a previous G-49 filing

Hawaii Tax Form List

 

Who doesn’t have to pay? Are there exceptions?

Here is a screenshot of the exemptions if you file online:

ge-exceptions
snapshot of exemptions during online filing of g45

As you can see, most of these exemptions make a lot of sense. For example, if you have bad debts (aka non payment) that means you never received the income, yet it was included in gross billings, so you need to exclude them. Or reimbursements, which if you buy something for your client at no markup as a matter of convenience, then you should not be paying GE tax on that. Non profit organizations is in there as well.

In general, if you have to ask this question, then you probably aren’t exempt from the GET. Entities like Non Profits, utility companies, and some selling securities/commodities are exempt from the GET. See this long document for details (Hawaii Revised Statute 237-23, 12/31/2012).

Organizations looking for GET exempt status would file G-6 (Application for Exempt Status for General Excise Taxes).

Reimbursements: if you paying for something on behalf of a client and there is no mark-up (meaning that you’re not profiting), then the amount is exempt from GET.

Example: I build a website for a client and it requires a special plugin software for $50. I buy it on behalf of my client then I tack the cost onto his final invoice along with the fee for the website. I don’t pay GET on that $50 reimbursement I get from the client.  If I pay $50 for the plugin and charge my client $150, then it’s not a reimbursement and I have to pay GET on the $150.

Out of state sales: if you’re selling tangible personal property out of the state, like, selling hula skirts to someone in Minnesota, the money you get from the sale is exempt from the GET (section 237-29.5(1), thanks Eva for mentioning this). The purchaser needs to fill out form G-61, “EXPORT EXEMPTION CERTIFICATE FOR GENERAL EXCISE AND LIQUOR TAXES” to cerify that they are out of state.

Wholesale customers pay a special rate of .5%.

Insurance commissions (Chapter 431, HRS) pay  .15%

Nonprofits don’t pay on donations received, but must on goods and services sold through fundraising.

 

Do Nonprofits pay no General Excise Tax?

Yes for donations received, but businesses can still pass their GET onto a nonprofit. Also, update: nonprofits still pay general excise tax on monies received from fundraising events because they are selling goods and services.

Registered nonprofits are exempt from paying GET on their business income. However, if that nonprofit contracts a business, then the nonprofit may be paying that business’ GET.

 

Example:

A church receives a $10,000 donation (that’s business income for them). The church is a registered nonprofit, meaning it’s GET-exempt, so they don’t pay any GET to the state for that donation.

Then the church hires me to build an online store for them for $10,000. I am for-profit and need to pay GET on my business income. I decide to pass the 4.712% GET onto the church as a surcharge. So, in the end, the church ends up paying me $10,471.20 ($10,000 base + GET surcharge). Then I put aside the $471.20 to pay to the state when time comes to pay my GET.

 

What is a wholesaler?

Wholesalers get a special GET rate of .5%.

What’s a wholesaler? Someone who sells goods in bulk to other businesses to sell for retail. An example would be an electronics company, who sell and deliver mass electronics to places like Best Buy, Radioshack, or Walmart. Wholesalers usually have smaller margins than retailers because they make money on large quantities of transactions, which is why the tax rate is lower for them.

If you’re selling to customers or end users, you are not a wholesaler.

Do rates change if you’re a sub-contractor?

If there are subcontractors involved, no there is not an endless tax on every subcontractor in the chain. Rather, the the sub-contractor working directly with the end customer(s) will be charged the full rate, while the transaction between the sub-contractor and contractor is at a lower rate of .5%.

Answer from DAVID W RISTAU CPA‘s conversation:

Roland: “I am a contractor. I use subcontractors.The build in their 4.5% GET on their invoices to me. I do the same with my invoice to my client, including paying 4.5% GET on the amount of subcontractor cost built into my price. So the state is collecting at least twice (maybe more, since the subs buy materials from local businesses). No wonder the state is bankrupting local businesses.”
David Ristau: “If you’re being charged 4.5% by your subs, something is wrong in the preparation of your returns. The subs should be charging you 0.5% GE tax and you charge your end customer 4.5% and deduct the sub-contractors on your GE filings via Schedule GE to report the subs. State isn’t bankrupting businesses because of incorrectly prepared and filed GE forms…the small business is shooting itself in the foot by not seeking competent help in preparing the GE forms.”

 

Additional Reading

Big article right? If you have more questions, you might want to look at these articles:

Passing On Hawaii’s General Excise Tax Not Possible for Some by Lowell Kapala, Hawaii Reporter

Oahu County Surcharge FAQs by Hawaii Department of Taxation

FAQs by Hawaii Department of Taxation

General Excise Tax License Required for Business Activity by Fred Pablo, Hawaii Tax Director

Tax Facts 96-1: General Excise Tax vs Sales Tax by Hawaii Department of Taxation

Tax Facts 97-3: Starting a Business, Licenses and Taxes by Hawaii Department of Taxation

O’ahu stores can tax up to 4.712% by Greg Wiles

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Disclaimer / Last Note: I am not a tax professional nor do I work for the Hawaii tax department. If you have more questions, look through the comments or call the State Tax Department.

392 comments on “Everything You Need to Know About The Hawaii General Excise Tax

  1. How about other commissioned sales?

    1099 for Travel Agent Commissions
    1099 for Network Marketing Commissions

    Would it be better to move to another state?

    The GET is on the Gross

  2. Hi, Ron:
    Very informative blog. A question for you that I don’t see addressed: student summer internship income. My son received a 1099-MISC with an amount in box 3 “other income” from UH for a summer internship he did last summer. This does not seem like a “business” that he required a GET license for, nor will it be an ongoing thing.

    Do you think the state views student internship income as being subject to GET?

  3. Thanks for the great info. I do have a question. I got a GET license in June of last year in preparation for starting a small soap-making business. I spent the final months of 2014 still making preparations for starting the business (filing for a business license, starting a website, etc), but didn’t actually sell any soap or make any money. I suppose I did have some business expenses (purchasing the domain name, buying raw materials for the soap making process, etc) but it was pretty minimal (less than $1000). What do I do about filing GET for 2014? I haven’t filed anything so far. Do I just file a G-49? If so, do I claim those expenses? Where do I put them on the form? I plan to actually “open for business” sometime this spring – but it will be a very small, etsy-type business. And then what about my Federal taxes for 2014? (I filed as a LLC, I’m the only person involved in the business). Thanks for any input!

    1. To Jennifer:
      Your post doesn’t state exactly when your GE license was originally granted in 2014.
      HI DOT requires GE filing for period beginning from the license date.
      Even though you didn’t have any sales in 2014, you’re required to file GE tax returns.
      I’m answering your post in 2017.
      If you filed G-49 for 2014 with zero sales and zero tax owed, then you’re all set.
      If you didn’t file G-49 for 2014, file the form now with zero sales and zero tax owed to complete your filing obligation. There is no penalty for a late filed return with zero tax liability.

  4. Thanks so much for this info….makes much more sense than the actual government websites. I’m curious….I only registered my business to secure the name and of course check off the blocks…I barely made any money in 2014 with my “business”…I’d say roughly less than $500. Do I still need to file?

    1. Hi Ron,
      I am about to start an internet dropship business. I live in Hawaii but 100% of my customers will live in other states. In addition, the items I will sell are manufactured in another state and will not ship from Hawaii, but from the manufacturer. Do I pay get??
      Thanks for your help.
      Elizabeth

  5. I moved to Oahu 7 years ago, and did some business as a financial advisor (securities sales), until retiring in 2012. Received a letter from Department of Taxation last week asking to audit me for GET payments that I never made. Your blog says securities sales are exempt, but I can’t find any other resource that supports that. Where should I look and what hope do I have in the audit?
    Thanks
    Curtis

  6. Hello Ron,
    I’m wondering if we start a business and hire a live-in domestic worker to take care of my grandfather in Hawaii if we are subject to the GET. They would be paid as an employee, not a contractor. Thanks so much for your help.

    1. the GET is only for income. your domestic worker, an employee is an expense. if however your grandfather is paying your business money in exchange for supplying the domestic worker, then the money is business income and subject to GET.

  7. Hi Ron,

    My question is on the “physical presence” in Hawaii if a consultant is in another state. I was advised that this included periodic business trips rather than having an established office or address in Hawaii.

    Have you run across this? I’ve been trying to find a definition or description on what constitutes a physical presence – but no luck yet.

    Thanks in advance.

    1. sorry, but “physical presence”, aside from what the state describes in their tax documents (live in hawaii, have an office in hawaii, etc), is not 100% defined. i would have no idea how to classify a person who briefly visits hawaii.

    1. GET is Hawaii Tax Department’s responsibility, so it does not concern the IRS. If yours is from 20 years ago… that means 20 years of 0 GET paid, so they probably cancelled it already. Or there’s a form you can cancel with to make sure.

  8. Hello Ron, thank you for your advice, when someone gets a GET license, is he allowed to by things like car parts, food and so forth at a much cheaper or discounted price?
    thanks for your reply

  9. If you charge the customers a surcharge for the GE tax, do you list your gross income including what you collected for GE tax on your state and federal taxes and then write them off as an expense, or do you simply only claim what you made (not including the tax you collected and already paid to Hawaii)?

    I am not really sure if it even makes a difference, considering you called it a wash, but if it is a surcharge I don’t know if it is considered an expense.

  10. If anyone needs to fill out a form 1099-MISC, I found a blank form here http://goo.gl/BjM4EW. This site PDFfiller also has some tutorials on how to fill it out and a few related tax forms that you might find useful.

  11. Hi Ron,

    Thanks for your helpful information. I live in Hawaii and I am starting a business as an internet affiliate marketer, meaning I get a percentage commission from every sale that I bring to a company. I work mainly with large mainland-based companies, like Amazon and Bed, Bath & Beyond.

    Since I am not selling products directly to customers (and therefore, will not be collecting any sales tax), will I need a GE tax license?

    1. It sounds like “no.” The GET is all about business transactions in Hawaii. For you, those transactions are happening outside the state. However the affiliate commissions would be part of your regular taxes as part of “wages, commissions, tips, etc”. But keep up with Hawaii tax news because online transactions are tricky and not all states have come up with a way to deal with them yet.

    2. Hi Ron,
      I’m a bartender, work on tips and get paid by cash daily. Do I need to get an GE lincese in order for me to pay tax?

      Mahalo

      1. The main point here is to see if you’re an employee or an independent You get w2s? If so you’re an employee not a business so you do not pay general excise taxes

  12. For services I perform as an indep. contractor & where I’m paying my own GET, you said the GET is a deductible business expense for Federal purposes… does Hawaii State also let you deduct it as an expense when you file for income tax purposes?

  13. I received my ge tax liscence in maui in spring 2012 but never used it. Am I going to be in trouble & if so what to do? Sign, very confused girl.

  14. Hi Ron,

    Thank you for the informative information. If you pay GET on a rental, do you still have to claim the total rental fee on your income taxes (as earnings) and pay taxes on it again with your year end tax return? (This will also bump up your tax bracket I’m assuming…) Mahalo!

  15. We have changed the name of our business and I’m having trouble finding all the forms I should file with the state and feds. Any recommendations? Thank you

  16. Thank you Ron.

    This is a summary of my understanding after just completing my first set of Hawaii tax returns for my vacation rental condo. I emailed this to myself so I can find it whether or not I’m at home when I have to prepare my next returns. While this may be useful to others at least in gathering information, I’m not very confident that my understanding is entirely correct, and nothing can substitute for the advice of a qualified Hawaii tax professional. If it turns out I’ve made a mistake, I can file amended returns.

    The Hawaii tax structure for vacation rental proceeds is complicated and confusing and there of current information available online is sparse. Much of what is out there on the internet (perhaps even on the State of Hawaii’s own website) is incorrect and/or outdated. Some information given to me by a well meaning person who answered the phone when I called the Department of Taxation turned out to be incorrect. Be careful. It pays not to try to figure it out and prepare your returns at the last minute – there are severe penalties (5% per month on unpaid liabilities) and interest involved if you aren’t on time. I had until July 20 to get my returns for the period ending June 30 postmarked.

    I registered my business and obtained my Hawaii state tax ID number right away, in fact I filed the application electronically 2 weeks before I closed escrow on my Maui condo. Hawaii law requires the Hawaii tax ID number to be visible in all advertisements and in contracts. If someone needed to register their business with the State, here is a link: https://hbe.ehawaii.gov/BizEx/home.eb.

    Here is the state guideline for completing the Transient Accommodations Tax (TAT) Return: http://files.hawaii.gov/tax/forms/2013/ta1ins.pdf – GET and TAT taxes visibly passed on to paying guests are EXCLUDED from gross rental proceeds for purposes of the TAT, so those amounts do not appear anywhere in the TAT return.

    Here is the fillable PDF form for the TAT Return (Form TA-1): http://files.hawaii.gov/tax/forms/2010/ta1_f.pdf

    Here is the best guideline for the General Excise Tax (GET) that I’ve found so far: http://www.ronswebsite.com/blog/hawaii-general-excise-tax/ – GET taxes at 4% are included in gross “transient accommodations rentals” that are claimed on the GET return. The effect is that you are paying GET taxes on GET taxes. This is very confusing. It means the effective GET rate is actually 4.16%. GET and TAT taxes visibly passed along to renters (itemized and not just lumped in with a total charge) are an “exemption/deduction” from the gross “transit accommodations rentals”.

    Here is the fillable PDF form for the GET Return (Form G-45) http://files.hawaii.gov/tax/forms/2008/g45_f.pdf

    Here is the fillable PDF form for the GET Exemption form (Schedule GE) that MUST be filed with the GET Return to avoid disallowance of the exception for GET and TAT taxes visibly passed along to renters: http://files.hawaii.gov/tax/forms/2013/g45ge.pdf

    Here is the fillable PDF form for the tax payment voucher – you must fill one out for the GET payment check and another one for the TAT payment check: http://files.hawaii.gov/tax/forms/2012/vp1_f.pdf

    Owners can register to file all the forms electronically and make payment by bank debit for $1 (credit card has a 2.4% fee + some additional fixed dollar fee): https://dotax.ehawaii.gov/efile/html/FAQ.html

    Here is the link to the Hawaii Department of Taxation alphabetical list of tax forms: http://tax.hawaii.gov/forms/a1_1alphalist/

    Here is the form to change the filing frequency for GET or TAT – frequency of filing depends on the annual tax liability (e.g. you file quarterly for GET if your annual GET tax liability will be more than $2,000 but less than $4,000. You file monthly for TAT if your annual TAT liability will exceed $4,000): http://files.hawaii.gov/tax/forms/2009/gewtarv5.pdf

    You must file an annual TAT return/reconciliation – here is the state instructions http://files.hawaii.gov/tax/forms/2013/ta2ins.pdf
    Here is the annual TAT return/reconciliation fillable form: http://files.hawaii.gov/tax/forms/2011/ta2_f.pdf

    You must file an annual GET return/reconciliation.
    Here is the annual GET return/reconciliation fillable form: http://files.hawaii.gov/tax/forms/2008/g49_f.pdf

    NOTE: I (and apparently most Honua Kai owners that advertise on VRBO) have been listing the sum of TAT and GET taxes on our ads as 13.416% (which represents 9% TAT and the effective GET rate of 4.16% and that is the amount I am actually passing on to guests. However, the actual TAT rate is in fact 9.25% which means that I’m eating that .25% at least on my first set of returns mailed 7/18/2014)

    My GET return, payment voucher, and check were mailed to:
    Hawaii Department of Taxation
    P.O. Box 1425
    Honolulu, HI 96812-1425

    My TAT return, payment voucher, and check were mailed to a different address:

    Hawaii Department of Taxation
    P.O. Box 2430
    Honolulu, HI 96812-2430

    1. Trevor, thanks for the info. I as well as other people that read this article appreciate it. I plan to make some needed updates to this article soon and maybe also tackle a TAT article, because it seems to be a big area of confusions as well.

      1. Hi Ron,

        What deductions are allowing for GET? I received 1099s with the amount of $ I spent on supplies…was not my income…just got reimbursed for supplies I bought for the client. Can I deduct those? It doesn’t seem fair that I have to pay GET on an amount that was clearly not income at all.

        Thanks!

          1. Hi Ron,
            Thanks for all the great information!
            Does money for notarial services get taxed?

            Thanks

      2. I love your blog Ron. It is very informative.

        Do I have to pay tax on my TAT like I do on my GET? If so, what is my combined GET and TAT rate on Oahu?

        T

  17. I want to file my GE. I am a bartender and I get paid with tips. (No hourly wage/no paycheck) I work at a bar but am considered a sole proprietorship. How would I file my taxes? Thanks

    1. Kaori, for federal taxes, the money you make as a freelance bartender flows through onto your 1040. Same idea for state taxes. You might get requests for W-9 filling, which your clients file with the IRS to track the money you make. For general excise tax, you have to register yourself and then file it, separately from the above 2.

      So… I can get a free drink next time I’m at your bar? K thanks eh.

  18. If i am supposed to pay GET semi-annually and i started receiving income from renting my condo in Feb. Do i still need to pay at the June and Dec time periods, or do i pay the end of the 6 month period from when i started earning income?
    If anyone can answer this question, i would appreciate it.

  19. I have a spa whereby which I contract with Independent contractors. I collect on their behalf the payments. Contractually, we have agreed that I will pay 4% on my gross commissions and they will pay 4% on their gross or their 1099. For instance, if an ic makes $10,000 gross, then they will owe $400 GET. Some of the Ic’s insist that they are wholesalers, and as such are only obligated to pay .005 GET. Of course, this is after the fact, after signing the contract, after working under this agreement for many years, in some cases. This is a source of great contention. What constitutes a wholesaler?

    1. You should ask a CPA for the best answer… but I “wholesaler” status is for a person with a certificate or license in the state they want to distribute in. Try look up form g17, g18. I think it might also be called “seller’s permit.” So that’s something you’ll need to ask them for and to fill out to verify that they are indeed wholesalers.

      Even though you folks have a contract in place, you folks can amend it if there is an area of mutual agreement, namely if you decide that the tax numbers changing. In terms of the general tax liability, each party should have their own, unique tax liability based on their own gross receipts during their own respective tax periods — their tax liability is their own responsibility.

      Note: I am not a qualified tax expert. My opinion is not substitute for professional tax advice.

  20. Is a physical location in Hawaii required if we offer consumer loans via the internet in Hawaii.

  21. Quick and easy question, I think. We are located in Texas. We only have one client in Hawaii. We invoiced this client in March, but have not yet received payment. We file GET every 6 months. Do I have to pay tax on the invoiced amount or do I wait and pay tax when we receive payment from client? Thanks!

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