Melissa Tanji of the Maui News reported yesterday that Maui timeshare owners have filed 649 real property tax appeals with Maui County for the 2015 assessment year, the highest number of appeals for owners of properties in any of the 10 property rate tax classifications.
The issue of Maui timeshares having the highest property tax rates at $15.07 per $1,000 net taxable value has been ongoing for a number of years and is an issue Advantage Vacation has followed, reported on and personally addressed with the Maui County Council in the past.
As recently as 2013, a large group of Maui timeshare owners at the Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas and Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas North filed suit against the county stating that the county undermined the timeshare owners’ ability to participate in the process of setting timeshare tax rates – the suit is still pending in the 2nd Circuit Court.
Grant Gillham is a spokesperson for the Westin timeshare owners group and executive director of the group’s political action committee and acknowledged that his group alone has made around 500 property tax appeals (538 according to the county) for the 2015 year.
“Our owners are being unfairly taxed at a rate that is wholly inconsistent with the other tax rates in the county,” said Gillham, of the some 27,000 time-share property owners he represents reported the Maui News article.
The Maui News article went on to report that Mayor Alan Arakawa has proposed keeping property tax rates unchanged from this fiscal year, although valuations are up around 13.5 percent, meaning that even if rates are kept the same, taxpayers will likely pay more in the fiscal year that begins July 1.
Maui News went on to report that last week, Maui County Council Budget and Finance Committee Chairman Riki Hokama proposed lowering property tax rates for all categories by 3.5 to 4 percent. Maui timeshare rates would decrease to $14.50 under his proposal. Last week, the committee was in the process of completing its recommendations for rates and the rest of the 2015-16 budget to the full council. It has until June 10 to pass the budget. Otherwise, Arakawa’s proposed budget will take effect.
Gillham, who was on Maui last week on timeshare business, said: “We believe that our rates should be more in line with the condominium owners rates than the five times the homeowner rates.”
He said that, unlike hotel guests, Westin timeshare owners come to Maui consistently every year and are more like part-time residents.
Overall, Gillham said the Westin timeshare owners are a steady source of income for the county. The Westin Kaanapali timeshare owners, having invested money into their units, are “very loyal,” he said. “This is where they committed their vacation dollars.”
Gillham added that Westin Kaanapali timeshare owners do not spend all of their time at the resort and go out to restaurants, visit shops and do activities. He added that many timeshare owners eat at local restaurants every year during their vacations.
Advantage Vacation will keep you updated on the property tax rates news which affects all Maui timeshare owners.
Syed Sarmad, Principal Broker for Advantage Vacation