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Tom Yamachika

Tom Yamachika
Tom Yamachika is the President of the Tax Foundation of Hawaii, a private, nonprofit educational organization dedicated to informing the taxpaying public about the finances of our state and local governments in Hawaii. Tom is also a tax attorney in solo practice and has been since early 2013. Prior to 2013, he was with the accounting firm Accuity LLP, which was formed in 2006 from the Honolulu office of Coopers & Lybrand (which later became PricewaterhouseCoopers). Before that, he served as an Administrative Rules Specialist in the State of Hawaii Department of Taxation from 1994 to 1996, where he drafted rules, interpretive releases, and legislation on several different state taxes. Prior to that, he practiced litigation and tax law with Cades Schutte Fleming & Wright in Honolulu.

TAXWatch: Gut-n-Replace 2019

This week we’ll discuss a couple of examples from this legislative session of the controversial but commonly used technique called “Gut and Replace” where a bill is amended so much that it looks nothing like its former self. Senate Bill (SB) 162, as originally introduced, would have provided tax credits for hiring elderly people In late February, the Departments of …

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TAXWatch: A Threat to Judicial Independence

When we learn about our three branches of government, we’re usually told that the legislative branch makes the laws, the executive branch carries them out, and the judiciary branch interprets them.  Each branch serves as a check and balance on the other two. The legislative branch also has the power to raise money, for example by imposing taxes, and the …

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TAXWatch: Carbon Credits

Today I have some help from the Hawaii State Watch Doggie’s wife, who is a passionate researcher.  Those who know them know who’s the brains in their family! Q:  I’ve been reading about our Department of Land and Natural Resources, which is doing a reforestation project in East Maui.  It’s hired a vendor to certify the project for “carbon credits.”  …

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TAXWatch: OHA’s LLCs – The Noose Is Tightening

Our Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) formed some limited liability companies (LLCs) a while ago and dropped significant assets into them, including some 1,875 acres in Waimea Valley on Oahu that were conveyed to Hi’ipaka LLC in 2007.  The LLCs’ governing documents all say that they are to be managed by individuals holding specified administrative positions at OHA, specifically the …

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TAXWatch: HIDOE Achieves Success with Job Order Contracting

We’ve written a lot about the Hawaii State Watch Doggie.  Those who have visited our Twitter site have seen that the Doggie is a family man, with a wife and son.  His son is five and loves to ask questions.  He also really, really, really loves to eat. Q:  Are you reading something about my school, Dad? A:  Not just …

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TAXWatch: Blankety Blank

The story you are about to read is true.  The names have not been changed to protect the innocent.  This is the city:  Honolulu, Hawaii.  I live here.  I’m a doggie.  The suspect is Blankety Blank. No, that isn’t a cuss word.  It’s just the facts, ma’am.  Blankety Blank is House Bill 1190.  Its purpose, should you decide to accept …

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TAXWatch: Revenue Raisers Already Sent to the Governor

We’ve previously warned that our legislature has a dogged focus on new taxes – “ARF!  Don’t make fun of me like that!” It’s the Hawaii State Tax Watch Doggie, with a report on recent bills! Q:        What would you like to report? A:        Our Legislature is wasting no time pushing those revenue raisers!  A couple of them cleared the legislative …

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TAXWatch: Judgments Aren’t Necessarily the End of Litigation

Several online travel companies engaged in protracted litigation against the Department of Taxation over whether and to what extent they are liable for Hawaii General Excise and Transient Accommodations Taxes on hotel accommodations that they sold to third parties on their respective platforms.  The litigation spanned multiple years, resulted in one exhaustive Hawaii Supreme Court opinion, In re Travelocity.com, Inc., …

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TAXWatch: Post Those Tax Returns, Darn It!

One of the more debate-worthy bills at our Legislature (Senate Bill 94) involves requiring candidates for President and Vice President of the United States to post their tax returns on the Internet.  If they don’t, the bill says, they won’t appear on the Hawaii ballot and even if they somehow win, the folks that we send to the Electoral College …

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TAXWatch: Blank the Amount, Defect the Date

If you’re following bills as they move through our legislature, there are a couple of practices that we need you to know about. Often, committee chairs will refer to one or both of these practices when they move bills forward. Each bill must have an effective date so that we know when it starts doing what it is supposed to …

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