Can I Get A Hawaii Property Tax Exemption?

So, you bought a new home in Hawaii and you’re wondering if you can get a break on your property taxes. Fortunately for you, there are home exemptions, but they do have some rules.

The first home exemption law was enacted in 1896 by the Republic of Hawaii to provide some tax relief, encourage home ownership and the settlement of land. In 1896, the home exemption amount was $300. Currently, the basic home exemption is $48,000. This means that $48,000 is deducted from the assessed value of the property and the homeowner is taxed on the balance. For homeowners 60 years and older, additional home exemptions are permitted.

Who Qualifies for the Home Exemptions?

You are entitled to the home exemption if:

  1. You own and occupy the property as your principal home (“real property owned and occupied as the owner’s principal home”) means occupancy of a home in the county with the intent to reside in the county. Intent to reside in the county may be evidenced by, but not limited to, the following indicia: occupancy of a home in the city for more than 270 calendar days of a calendar year; registering to vote in the county; being stationed in the county under military orders of the United States; and filing of an income tax return as a resident of the State of Hawaii, with a reported address in the county;
  2. Your ownership is recorded at the Bureau of Conveyances, State Department of Land and Natural Resources, in Honolulu on or before December 31 preceding the tax years for which you claim the exemption. In the case of a lease, the document must indicate that the lessee has a lease for residential purposes for a term of five years or more and will pay all property taxes;
  3. You file a claim for home exemption (Form P-3) with the Real Property Assessment Division on or before December 31 preceding the tax years for which you claim the exemption.

Single Home Exemption
The law allows just one (1) home exemption; if a husband and wife live apart and own separate homes, each shall be entitled to one-half (1/2) of one exemption or to an exemption apportioned between their respective homes in proportion to the assessed value.

Multiple Home Exemptions for Senior Citizens
The multiple home exemption was established to lighten the tax burden for senior citizens who have relatively fixed retirement incomes. Senior citizens who are 60 years or older are eligible to apply.

The multiple home exemption is determined as follows:

  • For those ages 60 to 69, the multiple home exemption is 2 times the basic home exemption. (2 x $48,000 = $96,000)
  • For those ages 70 and older, the multiple home exemption is 2.5 times the basic exemption. (2.5 x $48,000 = $120,000)

To obtain the multiple home exemption, a taxpayer must be 60 years if age on or by December 31, preceding the tax year for which the exemption is claimed.

Additional Home Exemption Based On Income
The exemption claim must be filed each year by December 31. Real property that qualifies for a home exemption is entitled to an additional home exemption in the amount of $55,000 if the annual income is the owner-occupant(s) is less than $40,000.00. The income used for qualifying is the federal & the State of Hawaii adjusted gross income from the year preceding the date of application.

Totally Disabled Veterans
If you are a totally disabled veteran, due to injuries received while on active duty with the U.S. Armed Forces, your home is exempted from all property taxes except the minimum tax. For this special exemption, veterans must file a claim on RP Form P-6 (Rev. 5/94) on or before December 31. The home exemption will remain in effect as long as the veteran claiming the exemption remains totally disabled or the widow or widower of the totally disabled veteran remains unmarried.

Hansen’s Disease
If you have Hansen’s Disease and are confined because of the illness, you are exempt from real property taxes on you real property, up to but not exceeding a taxable value of $50,000. This is in addition to your regular or multiple home exemption. If you are on a temporary released status, you can retain your exemption during that period. Claims for this special exemption must be filed on RP Form P-6 on or before December 31.

Blind, Deaf, or Totally Disabled
If you have impaired sight or hearing or are totally disabled, you may file a claim on RP Form P-6 for a $50,000 real property tax exemption on property you own. This claim is in addition to the regular or multiple home exemption. Your condition must be certified by an authorized physician, who is licensed to practice medicine in the State of Hawaii. “Certification” will be determined on the basis of a written report resulting from an examination performed by the authorized physician.

The following requirements must be satisfied to qualify for the exemption:

  • Blind: An individual whose eyesight does not exceed 20/200 in the better eye with corrective lenses or whose visual sharpness is greater than 20/200. In this latter case, the field of vision must have a width of 20 degrees or less.
  • Deaf: An individual whose average loss in the speech frequencies (500/2,000 hertz) in the better ear is 82 decibels, A.S.A, or worse.

Totally Disabled:
A person who is totally and permanently disabled, either physically or mentally, which results in the person’s inability to engage in any substantial gainful business or occupation. For example, medically-certified heart attack or stroke victims, unable to engage in any substantial gainful business or occupation may qualify for this exemption.

Once filed and granted, these home and real property exemptions do not have to be refiled annually, as long as all requirements continue to be met.

For more information visit:

14 Responses to “Can I Get A Hawaii Property Tax Exemption?”

  1. Justin
    April 15, 2008 at 1:25 pm #

    I just bought a home in Kilauea, Kauai and I will definitely be taking advantage of these property tax exemptions!

  2. Bill Crane
    November 12, 2008 at 5:24 pm #

    Can we qualify for a senior multiple home exemption if we own two residences, but one is not located in Hawaii County?

  3. Liza
    April 24, 2009 at 1:03 am #

    The style of writing is very familiar . Have you written guest posts for other blogs?

  4. Geraldine R. Harrison
    May 3, 2011 at 1:58 pm #

    Where can I get a request form for property a tax exemption for age 70 now that I’ve achieved that age?

  5. Michele
    May 3, 2011 at 2:25 pm #

    Aloha Geraldine,

    All you need to do is go to the Property Tax Website: http://www.hawaiipropertytax.com/Main/Home.aspx

    On the home page will see a forms and instructions page click on that and you will find your form for the tax exemption in there. Hope this helps.

    Michele McKinley

  6. Michele McKinley
    May 3, 2011 at 2:33 pm #

    Aloha Geraldine,

    Click on the Tax Brochure second page it will explain:

    HOME EXEMPTIONS FOR 60 YEARS OF AGE OR OVER
    - For those aged 60 to 69, the exemption amount is $80,000.
    - For those 70 and older, the exemption amount is $100,000.
    - To obtain the $80,000 or $100,000 exemption, the claimant
    must be 60 or 70 years of age on or before December 31,
    preceding the tax year.

  7. Tracy Stice
    May 3, 2011 at 2:37 pm #

    For those of you reading Justin’s blog, you have to remember that the numbers he is quoting are correct only for Kauai county. Each county has it’s own rules, tax rates, exemptions. For example, Maui county presently has a $300,000 exemption for owner occupants from the assessed value and a much lower owner occupant rate for property taxes.

    This is a very important point. The State of Hawaii does not collect property taxes, the individual counties do. So you have to review each counties site as Kauai, Honolulu ( Oahu ), Maui ( Moloka’i and Lana’i) , and Hawaii.

  8. Michele McKinley
    May 3, 2011 at 2:44 pm #

    Thx Tracy,

    I was not even paying attention to that. I just answered very quickly. Thx for pointing that out :)

  9. Gary Bland R (S)
    May 4, 2011 at 7:52 am #

    This is great info. I hope to see someone write one for each of the counties. Tracy is correct about info relates to Kauai only! Good to know in any case.

  10. Ed Smith
    January 11, 2013 at 10:06 am #

    I am 65 and a veteran. What property tax exemptions am I eligible for?

    • Michele McKinley
      January 11, 2013 at 5:22 pm #

      Aloha Ed,

      It all depends what Island you would be living on. Here is a example for the Big Island:
      HOME EXEMPTIONS FOR 60 YEARS OF AGE OR OVER
      - For those aged 60 to 69, the exemption amount is $80,000.
      - For those 70 and older, the exemption amount is $100,000.
      - To obtain the $80,000 or $100,000 exemption, the claimant
      must be 60 or 70 years of age on or before December 31,
      preceding the tax year.
      For being a Veteran it only mentions this:
      OTHER EXEMPTIONS ARE AVAILABLE
      If you:
      1) Are blind, deaf or totally disabled
      2) Have Hansen’s disease
      3) Are a totally disabled veteran

      I hope this helps ED.
      Aloha,
      Michele

  11. jason schmidt
    February 20, 2014 at 10:00 am #

    Does the hawaii tax exemptions still apply today? I am a disabled veteran and a first time home buyer. What other exemptions are there available to apply for. Is there a website where I could find this information.

    Jason

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