The Hawaii Tax Company is stepping up oversight of peer-to-peer automobile rental

HONOLULU (AP) – The Hawaii Department of Taxation has stepped up its surveillance of peer-to-peer car rentals.

The industry works with the help of apps like Turo that allow people to rent their personal cars to others.

Department head Isaac Choy told Hawaii Public Radio that residents should do their research beforehand.

One thing to know is that Hawaiian law requires that tax and a rental car surcharge be applied to every vehicle.

“I think it’s like vacation rentals and everything. Everyone is trying to make a little more money, ”said Choy. “Peer-to-Peer Cars, I don’t know if it’s going to be the next big thing, but it’s going to be a thing and we just want to make sure that when you rent your car, it is really, really fair with you.” every commercial car rental company. “

The state requires Turo to pay rental car taxes, he said. The owner of the car has to pay a wholesale price of half a percent.

Lou Bertuca, director of government relations for Turo, told The Associated Press that car rental companies in most states do not pay sales taxes on vehicles they buy in what he called a “front-end sales tax loophole”. In Hawaii, Bertuca said, companies are required to pay a 0.5% tax on vehicle purchases, which is significantly lower than the more than 4% general excise tax that Hawaii car buyers pay on top of that.

Choy said owners should also check with their insurance agent or attorney before listing their vehicle on Turo, as knowing what their liability will be if a renter damages the vehicle or personal property is important.

Some local residents have complained to officials after seeing their streets turn into parking spaces for vehicles. The problem arose this month at a meeting of the Waialae-Kahala Neighborhood Committee.

Tax inspectors recently checked a site in Kahala and photographed more than a dozen Turo cars parked on public streets.

The Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting has received complaints from Kahala as well as Ewa, Kalihi, and Salt Lake.

Turo wants people to reach out to the company to let them know if a host isn’t a good neighbor, Bertuca said. “We want hosts to be good community members and citizens,” he said.

Hawaii airport officials have ticket operators in Honolulu and Maui. They said they are monitoring the situation closely and are considering changing some administrative rules.

Turo is trying to get parking permits from airports across the country, Bertuca said. It has already made such agreements with Denver and Tampa airports, he said.

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