By Brooks Baehr - bio | email
HONOLULU – (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu's 36th annual mayor's craft and country fair may happen after all.
The city is looking to re-schedule the event which was originally set for Saturday but was abruptly canceled. The parks department called it off fearing some vendors might be fined as part of a new crackdown on businesses that do cash transactions.
Three months ago state tax investigators began unannounced visits to craft fairs, farmers markets, and swap meets. Vendors who are not following the rules are hit with fines that range from $500 to $3,000.
"First of all you need a GE license, an excise tax license. And then you are supposed to be keeping a record of what you sell. And third you are supposed to give receipts to the people who are buying things. It's just a matter of record keeping," said State Tax Director Stanley Shiraki.
Some vendors are unhappy with the new enforcement. They say the fines are difficult for small vendors to pay.
"They have very limited income. So if they were to get fined six, seven hundred dollars ... that would really wipe them out," said Mela Kealoha-Lindsey who manages the Ward Centers Specialties Farmers Market and the Kawaihai Specialties Market.
"We've had to buy a cash register. We've had to buy the battery pack. That's already $200 we've had to put out for this," said Lucy Hiraoka of Hiraoka Farms.
The state acknowledges complying with tax laws can be a burden, but Shiraki says everybody has got to pay their fair share.