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Hawaii General Excise Tax 

Unlike many mainland states, Hawaii does not have a “sales tax”, but instead has a “General Excise Tax” ("GET").  The following is some general information about this tax as it applies to business on Maui.  This information is taken from HI Tax Form, G-45 GET Instructions, Rev. 2012.


The General Excise Tax

The GET is a privilege tax imposed on business activity in the State of Hawaii.  The tax is imposed on the gross income received by the person engaging in the business activity.  Activities subject to the tax include wholesaling, retailing, farming, services, construction contracting, rental of personal or real property, business interest income, and royalties.  This is not a complete list of activities subject to the GE


Who Must File

Every person doing business in Hawaii during the taxable year must get a GET license and file the appropriate returns, regardless of how much income the business earns, and whether or not the business also incurred losses.  Every person receiving rents from real property owned in Hawaii is considered to be doing business, and must file returns


Filing Frequency

The periodic returns (Form G-45) are used to report gross income, exemptions/deductions, and tax due on business activities periodically. They must be filed throughout the year at specified intervals.  The frequency you file depends on the amount of GET your business has to pay during the year.  

  • You must file monthly if you will pay more than $4,000 in GET per year.

  • You may file quarterly if you will pay $4,000 or less in GET per year.

  • You may file semiannually if you will pay $2,000 or less in GET per year


Effective January 1, 2024 the tax rate is 4% on receipts except for wholesaling where the rate is 0.5% and all Hawaii Counties will add a additional 0.5% County surtax to this, therefore making the total non-wholesaling tax 4.5%.


Since this is a tax gross receipts tax, each business pays 4.5% of their total receipts including any tax they collect from their customers.  Therefore, most Hawaii businesses charge their customers a tax of 4.712%.  An example, shows the details of this:


Retail price of an item:  $100.00

Tax charged to customer + $4.71

Total amount paid by customer $104.71

Total receipt by business - $104.71

GET tax paid to HI at 4% - $4.71

Net to business after GET - $100.00


We do not provide tax or accounting advice and encourage you to discuss this important tax issue with your tax advisor who is knowledgeable about Hawaii tax laws and regulations.  Failure to pay the General Excise Tax, like all taxes, will result in interest and penalties.

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