Hawaii County to examine property tax exemptions

HILO, Hawaii (AP) - Hawaii County is scrutinizing properties where residents claim exemptions as homeowners or as farmers, in an effort to collect more taxes from people who don't qualify for those breaks.

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Friday that the county's Real Property Tax Division next month will begin sending letters to homes where the owner has died or moved. People who claim homeowner's exemptions on a property must use it as a primary residence and can't use it for short-term rentals.

The county recently compared data from the Department of Health against a list of homeowner's exemptions. It found that 1,200 dead people were still receiving the exemption. Some property owners had been dead for 10 years.

A homeowner's exemption knocks $40,000 of value off a property's assessment, lowering its tax burden.

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