The Conversation: Looking at Taxes and Tax Bills

Mar 26, 2021

The state tax filing deadline is April 20 and the federal deadline has moved to May 17--both are right around the corner. To get people up to speed on the latest tax bills passing through the Hawai‘i State Legislature and the newest tax laws, The Conversation spoke with three local tax experts and answered call-in and email questions from our listeners.

The Conversation's special call-in show included Tom Yamachika, president of the Tax Foundation of Hawai‘i; Nicole Woo, the Director of Research and Economic Policy at the Hawai‘i Children’s Action Network and a member of the Hawaii Tax Fairness Coalition; and Keli‘i Akina, president of public think tank Grassroot Institute of Hawai‘i.

The panel took a look at tax bills lawmakers have been mulling over in the current legislative session. Bills include increasing taxes on the wealthy and enacting a sugar-sweetened beverage tax.

Fearing that Hawai‘i was teetering on a fiscal cliff due to the pandemic, early on lawmakers couldn’t rule out tax hikes. As the fiscal picture becomes clearer, support for some proposed tax bills appears to be waning at this point in the session. Economists are forecasting a brighter picture although still a slow recovery.

In budgetary news, the state House has passed the state budget bill, restoring many critical social service programs. But some bills calling for tax relief and tax hikes still hang in the balance.

As for your state taxes, taxpayers will be granted an automatic six-month extension to file the return through Oct. 20 if any of these conditions are met: The taxpayer is due a refund or the taxpayer pays the properly estimated tax amount owed by April 20.

If you have any comments or feedback, let us know by calling the Talkback Line at (808) 792-8217, or recording a voice memo on your smartphone and sending it to talkback@hawaiipublicradio.org.