Tool | October 2016

State-by-State Guide to Taxes

Compare state tax rates and rules -- on income, ordinary purchases, gas, "sin" products, property, and more -- across the U.S.


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The Bottom Line
Map of Hawaii

Least Tax-Friendly

The Aloha State, one of Kiplinger's top ten least tax-friendly states, is known for its high cost of living — and high taxes. Temporary income tax rate hikes expired in 2016, lowering the top rate from 11% to 8.25%. But that top rate kicks in at just $48,000 for individual filers. Also, don't be fooled by Hawaii's 4% sales tax rate. Since it's due on virtually all transactions, the pocketbook effect is severe. A ray of sunshine: Property taxes as a percentage of home value are the lowest in the U.S.

Sales Tax

4%. Hawaii employs a General Excise Tax that applies to a wide range of goods and services. Since it's levied on the vendor rather than the buyer, the actual rate consumers pay is closer to 4.2%. Only prescription drugs and prostheses are exempt. Oahu has a county surcharge tax of 0.5% to pay for a mass transit system.

Income Tax Range

Low: 1.4% (on taxable income up to $4,800 for married couples filing jointly; on up to $2,400 for married couples filing separately and individual filers)

High: 8.25% (on taxable income over $96,000 for married couples filing jointly and surviving spouses; on over $48,000 for married couples filing separately and individual filers)

See’s Retiree Tax Map to learn how Hawaii taxes Social Security income and other forms of retirement income.

Motor Fuel Taxes

Gasoline: $0.44 per gallon.
Diesel: $0.41 per gallon.

Property Taxes

The median property tax on Hawaii's median home value of $528,000 is $1,401.

See’s Retiree Tax Map for details on tax breaks for seniors in Hawaii.

Vehicle Taxes

State excise tax is due on vehicle sales. Vehicles are also taxed by weight at registration. (Example: A 4,000-pound vehicle registered in Honolulu County would owe $200 to the county and $75 to the state.)

Sin Taxes

Cigarettes and little cigars: $3.20 per pack
Large cigars: 50% of the wholesale price
Other tobacco products: 70% of the wholesale price

Beer: $0.93 per gallon ($0.54 for draft beer)
Wine: $1.38 per gallon ($2.12 if sparkling)
Liquor: $5.98 per gallon

Travel Taxes

Hotel: 9.25% state lodging tax. Excise tax is also due. In Honolulu, this adds up to 13.75%.
Rental cars: $3 per day, plus excise tax.

Taxes On Wireless Service


Inheritance and Estate Taxes

The estate and transfer tax is imposed on Hawaii property owners with estates worth $5.45 million or more, and tax rates range from 10% to 15.7%. There is no inheritance tax.

Oddball Tax

Not a tax, but a deduction: The "Exceptional Tree" act allows homeowners and others to deduct up to $3,000 in expenses per tree for a tree that's big, old, rare or some combination thereof. The work must be done by a certified arborist, the tree itself has to be certified, and the deduction can be claimed only every third year.

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