Understanding Property Taxes in Hawaii

Jasmine Bell April 24, 2024

Hawaii, known for its stunning landscapes, beautiful beaches, and vibrant culture, is also unique in its approach to property taxation. If you're considering buying property in the Aloha State, understanding how property taxes work here is crucial. This guide will delve into the specifics of property taxes in Hawaii, offering insights into rates, exemptions, and payment processes.

Overview of Property Taxes in Hawaii

Hawaii boasts one of the lowest property tax rates in the United States, which might come as a surprise given the high value of most properties on the islands. Property taxes in Hawaii are administered by each of the state's four counties: Honolulu, Maui, Hawaii (Big Island), and Kauai. Each county sets its own tax rates and policies, so property taxes can vary significantly depending on where the property is located.

How Property Taxes are Calculated

Property taxes in Hawaii are determined based on the assessed value of the property. Each county has an assessor's office that evaluates property values every year, taking into account changes in the market, improvements to the property, and other relevant factors.

The basic formula for calculating property tax is:

Property Tax=Assessed Value×Tax Rate

Property Tax=Assessed Value×Tax Rate

Tax Rates by County

Each county in Hawaii has different tax rates, and these rates can also vary depending on the type of property (residential, commercial, agricultural, etc.). For instance, as of the latest data:

  • Honolulu County: The residential tax rate is relatively low, with special rates for homeowners who occupy their homes as their primary residence.
  • Maui County: Offers different rates for residential, commercial, and timeshare properties. They also have a tiered system where properties are taxed at different rates based on their value.
  • Hawaii County (Big Island): Features one of the more complex systems, with different rates for properties based on usage and whether the owner is an occupant.
  • Kauai County: Similar to other counties, Kauai also provides different rates based on the property type and usage, with additional incentives for homestead properties.

Tax Exemptions and Credits

One of the significant benefits of the property tax system in Hawaii is the availability of various exemptions and credits designed to reduce the tax burden on certain homeowners:

  • Homeowner Exemption: Available in all counties, this exemption is for residents who own and occupy their property as their primary residence. The exemption amount varies by county but can be substantial.
  • Senior Citizen Exemption: Senior citizens may qualify for additional exemptions, which can further reduce the property tax owed.
  • Disability Exemption: Individuals with disabilities can apply for specific exemptions provided they meet certain criteria set out by their county.

Payment of Property Taxes

Property taxes are typically paid in two installments per year, though the exact dates can vary by county. For example:

  • Honolulu County: Payments are due on August 20 and February 20.
  • Maui County: Due dates are set for August 20 and February 20.
  • Hawaii County: Tax payments are due on August 20 and February 20.
  • Kauai County: Property taxes are payable on September 20 and February 20.

Taxpayers can choose to pay their taxes through various methods such as online payments, by mail, or in person at the county offices.

Tips for Prospective Buyers

For those looking to purchase property in Hawaii, it's essential to factor in the ongoing cost of property taxes. Here are some tips:

  1. Research Thoroughly: Understand the specific tax implications for the county where you plan to purchase property.
  2. Consider Exemptions: Investigate if you qualify for any exemptions and understand how to apply for them.
  3. Professional Advice: Consider consulting with a tax professional or a real estate expert who is familiar with Hawaii's property tax laws to get tailored advice.


While Hawaii's property taxes may seem daunting at first, the system is designed to be manageable for residents, especially with various exemptions and low rates. Whether you're a first-time buyer or looking to invest in Hawaiian real estate, a clear understanding of this aspect of property ownership will ensure that you can enjoy your island home without unwelcome surprises.

Work With Us

We have 10 years of professional real estate experience. We love to help families, veterans and first time home buyers buy and sell. We both relocated to Oahu with our fur babies, to follow our dreams and live the Hawaii livestyle. Both of our families have deep roots in real estate, providing us strong real estate foundations.

Follow Us on Instagram